Dome Karukoski will produce Mannerheim film with a smaller budget than Renny Harlin
The number of war scenes in the present screenplay is fewer and they are also less massive
The long and convoluted tale of the feature film project about the life of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Defence Forces during World War II, has taken yet another twist.
The production company Solar Films is still officially awaiting the four million euros promised by a Russian foundation to invest in the production of the film. At the same time, the script has been edited in order that it would be possible to shoot the film with a smaller budget, without the Russians.
The script has been edited by Mika Karttunen from Solar Films and Dome Karukoski, who was appointed as the director of the film in the spring after Renny Harlin pulled out.
”The script has become very much cheaper. Or should we say pithier”, Karukoski estimated to Helsingin Sanomat.
Karukoski says that the filming of Harlin’s version would have cost approximately EUR 8 million, while the price of the most recent version will be around EUR 6 million.
”The closer we get to a budget of EUR 4 to 5 million, the easier it [the production funding] will be to gather”, Karukoski notes.
Initially, the budget was said to be as much as EUR 60 million, but in the past few years, Solar Films’s estimate has been slightly over EUR 10 million.
The new screenplay version will be finished on Thursday, and it will then be circulated for comments in the inner circle. One copy of the version will be given for example to the line producer who will be in charge of the budget of the film.
Following the script process at close hand, Managing Director Jukka Helle, the number two man at Solar Films, confirms Karukoski’s cost estimates.
”The script should now be feasible. It is not any impossible idea to start shooting next year”, Helle says.
Director Karukoski would like to start shooting the outdoor scenes of the Finnish Civil War and the Winter War already when there is snow in February. However, the task group has not been appointed yet.
The main shooting would take place in studios in Hungary in the summer. Helle estimates that the film could be completed by the end of 2012.
Karukoski has made changes to the script from his own perspective, bringing forth Mannerheim as a human being. Previously, the focus was on Mannerheim as a war hero.
”The current script has fewer scenes and people. Some of the war scenes in the old version were problematic for me, as they were not important for that person”, Karukoski notes.
According to Karukoski, several pages relating to the First World War and the Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905 were deleted.
Even some spectacular balls in St. Petersburg’s Chevalier Guard have been removed.
”The script has not necessarily become shorter, but its focus has been transferred more towards Mannerheim’s family saga and youth, during which time his character was formed”, Karukoski notes.
In recent months, Karukoski has read a lot about Mannerheim, saying that he has fallen in love with the topic and the story. He notes further that the most difficult setion of the script is related to the scenes depicting the Civil War.
”At that point, Mannerheim wrote no letters, and it is difficult to find a personal perspective. I have not managed to find any objective account of what Mannerheim was thinking during the Civil War”, Karukoski regrets.
”Those who are familiar with the Civil War, can report to me”, he adds.
For many years, producer Markus Selin of Solar Films has been denying that the script could be shrunk for financial reasons.
Now Selin says that Mannerheim will not be turned into a low-cost version and its quality will not be sacrificed.
Selin calculates that even with a budget of EUR 5 million, Mannerheim would be Finland’s most expensive movie, if the approximately EUR 4 million is included that have been spent on advance preparations in the years 2009 and 2010.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Production of Mannerheim film facing further troubles (17.12.2009)
Funding secured - Mannerheim film may start shooting in August (4.6.2009)
Director Harlin pulls out of Mannerheim film; producer Selin continues with project (23.5.2011)
New financing puts Mannerheim movie project back on track (15.2.2010)
Mikko Nousiainen to play Mannerheim in upcoming film (27.11.2007)
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (Wikipedia)
Dome Karukoski, IMDb