The Lion Woman, based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Erik Fosnes Hansen, is currently being shot at the MMC Studios in Cologne, Germany, under the direction of Vibeke Idsøe. On July 1st, the production was presented to the press on set.
In addition to the director and the author, the presentation on MMC’s soundstage 38 was also attended by the producers, Reza Bahar (Gifted Films West), John M. Jacobsen and Markus Broderson (Filmkameratene), Philip Borbély and Bastie Griese (MMC Movies), as well as Petra Müller (Head of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW).
At the presentation the Norwegian author Erik Fosnes Hansen appeared to be very pleased, in regards to the quality of the film adaptation of his novel. He said: “Maybe this only happens once in a lifetime.”
The actors Rolf Lassgård, Ken Duken and Burghart Klaußner discussed the film shooting with the press.
Ken Duken, who appeared on the set in an impressive SFX make-up as the “lizard man”, not only explained his role to the press, but also the elaborate make-up. In the course of this, Conor O’Sullivan, who is known as one of the best SFX make-up artists in Hollywood, was also presented to the press.
In the winter of 1912 in a small provincial town in Norway, a baby girl (Eva) whose body is fully covered with fine blond hairs is born. For science at that time, this was a peculiar and interesting case. Eva’s mother dies giving birth and her father, Arctander the station guard, at first doesn’t want to know anything about Eva.
But little Eva grows up. Disconnected and hidden from the curious outside world, she creates her own world until, one day, she finds the courage to escape from the narrowness of her life.
The Lion Woman tells the story of the extraordinary life of Eva Arctander, who, due to a genetic defect, is covered with hair over her whole body, which makes her resemble a young lioness.
The Swedish actor Rolf Lassgård (Wallander) plays the role of the taciturn and introverted station guard, Gustav Arctander. Ken Duken (Frau Müller muss weg, Rabbit Without Ears 2) plays the “lizard man”, Andrej Bòr, who, like Eva, suffers from a genetic defect.
Through Andrej Bòr, Eva gets know Johannes Joachim, played by Burghart Klaußner (13 Minutes, The White Ribbon). The extravagant director travels throughout Europe with his “human cabinet of curiosities”, and will give Eva’s life a completely new direction.
No less important to Eva, is the encounter with Mrs. Grjothornet, played by the Danish actress Connie Nielsen (Gladiator, Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1); a lady with style, who, on the one hand submits herself to the dictates of the beauty cult, but also teaches Eva that beauty can have many facets.
Eva Arctander is played by Aurora Lindseth Løkka (as a 7-year-old), Mathilde Thomine Storm (as a 14-year-old) and Ida Ursin-Holm (as a young woman).
An enormous challenge for the shooting of The Lion Woman was the make-up. The production team managed to hire Conor O’Sullivan (Last Samurai, The Hours, The Dark Knight, X-Men, The Counselor, Game of Thrones), who is known in Hollywood for being one of the best SFX Make-up artists.
Dan Laustsen (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Headhunter, Wind Chill) is the responsible cameraman, and Frauke Firl (Antichrist, The Misplaced World, 300 Worte Deutsch, Hannah Arendt) the responsible costume designer.
The scenery was created by the Icelandic production designer Karl Júlíusson (Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, The Hurt Locker). The various sets in three soundstages of MMC’s production facilities in Cologne were constructed by the MMC Art Department (MMC’s Construction Manager: Hendrik Labuhn). One of the main sets was the apartment of the station guard Arctander and another was the community hall of the small Norwegian provincial town.
The Lion Woman is a production of the Norwegian Filmkameratene and the German Gifted Films West (Cologne), in co-production with Tre Vänner (SE), Zentopa (DK), MMC Movies and The Post Republic. The movie is funded by the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, FFA, FFHSH, DFFF, Eurimages and The Norwegian Film Institute.
NFP marketing & distribution will bring the film to the movie theaters in 2017.
Photo: from left to right: The actors Burghart Klaußner, Ken Duken and Rolf Lassgård on the set of The Lion Woman on MMC’s soundstage 38 in Cologne. © MMC Studios / Guido Ohlenbostel