Profile: Andre Ovredal
Writer and director of Troll Hunter
After studying at Santa Barbara’s Brooks Institute, where he made his first film, Future Murder (2001), Ovredal established himself as a successful director of commercials in Norway.
What’s he up to now?
He’s written and directed Troll Hunter, a uniquely Norwegian addition to the ‘mockumentary’ genre, in which three student journalists pursuing a story about illegal bear killings discover the titular character, and his improbably real quarry. Presented as Blair Witch-style found footage, it has placed Ovredal firmly on Hollywood’s radar, with Variety featuring him in this year’s 10 Directors to Watch list.
On the concept of the film
‘It just came from blending all the things that I enjoy myself; it’s the fairytales of Norway [mixed] with very American movies and a Norwegian sensibility about people. All the children in Norway hear troll fairy stories at some point, so I’m just playing with the idea: if trolls really existed today, how would that actually work?’
On the character of the Troll Hunter
‘He is the person who defines the humour of the film, his attitude towards the trolls has to be so dry and droll, kind of tired and reluctant and disinterested, and therefore it becomes funny. He’s a little bit of Quint from Jaws, a little bit of Hugh Laurie’s character from House, and maybe a retired Indiana Jones too.’
On combining improvisation with CG effects ‘We went through each scene with the special effects supervisors saying ‘okay, you can shoot there but not there’, but when we were actually shooting it we were quite free about things. I cast most of the actors because of their ability to improvise and invent, and I found that to be the best way to go about making a documentary-style film feel alive throughout the entire process.’
Big-shot American filmmaker Chris Columbus has already bought the remake rights to Troll Hunter. Ovredal says it’s ‘exciting, and just nuts’.
Troll Hunter is on selected release from Fri 16 September.