Last year Zentropa, a company co-founded by director Lars von Trier, announced plans for a big-budget adaptation of The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson, a two volume novel about Vikings. Earlier today it was reported from the Cannes Film Festival that Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig in Thor) will have a starring role in the film. The novels, published in the early 1940s, followed the fictional adventures of Rode Orm (Red Serpent) as he was captured by Islamic slavers as a child. He eventually returns home to Scandanavia and joins in Viking raids on England. He is later baptized as a Christian, starts a family, and recovers a fortune in hidden gold so that he may retire in peace. The books are highly popular in Bengtsson’s native Sweden and have been translated into over 23 languages including English. A previous adaptation titled The Long Ships was released in 1964 (above) and a comic adaptation was published from 2000-2004.
Hans Petter Moland will direct the screenplay from Tobias Lindhom with Peter Aalbaek Jensen producing. Shooting will begin in southwest Sweden next year.