Sundance 2011: Troll Hunter Q&A: Øvredal and Tosterud
Sundance 2011 is in full swing so of course Dread Central is there to bring you all of the genre's latest and greatest goodies! Below you'll find a transcript of the post-film Q&A with director Andre Øvredal and star Glenn Erland Tosterud - the men behind the sensation known as Troll Hunter (review here)!
Andre Øvredal: The film was shot in 29 days in the fall of 2009. It was shot all over the country. We wanted to shoot a road movie. A lot of the film was improvised. I had to get actors who could just “be the characters”. These actors were still fairly new to our company and primarily had only shot commercials to this point. The film only took 3-4 million dollars to make.
Question: Was the sound the really most important part of the film?
Øvredal: There were only like 80 effects shots in the film. We really had to have good sounds to tie the action sequences together. There was one guy that played all of trolls. He was growling and making all these crazy sounds in the sound room for hours. We had some seals, too. We had a limited budget. It was fun to make this work with all the limited resources.
Q: How did you come up with the idea?
Øvredal: In Norway we have a book of fairy tales, like Grimm’s Fairy Tales. This book was written by people that traveled around and listened to folklore from people. My grandparents used to read this to me. I loved these stories, and I wanted to make a film with a heroic character. I wanted to do something with the trolls so even the ways these trolls were designed were based on drawing from this book in the 18th century. We made our own versions of them. I wanted to make them animals and keep them in a documentary reality. I hope this makes sense…
Q: Was that the real Prime Minister at the end of the movie?
Øvredal: Yes that’s the Prime Minister. We know a friend of his, and we found some footage of him talking about some power lines. When he says “troll” he is actually talking about an oil field call “Troll Field”…we have a very good sound editor.
Q: What were the cameras used to make the film?
Øvredal: Panasonic, 2 or 3 letters, and 3700 (laughter).
Producers (backround): Panasonic Varicam 3700.
We couldn’t use small hand held cams due to quality, these are shoulder cams. We had to pretend they seemed lighter than they actually were. But we had to keep the quality.
Q: Was there an actual script?
Øvredal: There was a script.
Glenn Erland Tosterud: There was a script. We kinda looked at the script, we talked about the script, and then put it away kind of. It was basically like, today we have 3 pages, and that’s going to be impossible so let's just put it way and…see what happens. We kinda worked around it.
Øvredal: In a lot of scenes we had this rule saying that you can say whatever you want because I want the words to be yours because I don’t consider myself to be a great screenwriter. I wanted them to use real words on screen. Basically the rule was you can say basically what is in the script; say whatever you want but not the exact words in the script. I think that was an important piece of it. Of course the main guy, the troll hunter, he is a very famous comedian. I wanted people to put a little punch in the dialogue, all of the sarcasm and different ways of speaking. There is a lot of comedy in his persona. I was worried that people wouldn’t get it seeing it outside of the language.
Q: Did all of the trees have to be knocked down for the one scene with the hundreds of trees knocked down, or were they already down?
Øvredal: During our pre-production period, like 2 months before we were going to start filming, we read about this in the newspaper that a tornado, absolutely unheard of in Norway, had passed through this area. We saw this aerial view of this fantastic thing so I just wrote it into the script. It was just perfect because it shows the scale of what is going on.
Q: How did you come up with all of the little details in the film?
Øvredal: It was a big effort, trying to figure out how to implement all of this. It was kinda like having a phase of how all of this fit into the story, how to put the trolls into real life, and how to work in the characters. I have to prove that he (Hans) is actually this character. That was a big effort as the screenwriter, and I have tons more, enough to fill 2 or 3 more sequels.
Q: Is there anything as an American audience we didn’t understand about the film?
Øvredal: Maybe... after listening to you watching the film, I was so relieved. You got like 80% of the jokes, and there were jokes in the film that you didn’t laugh at. But those jokes are very Norwegian, it has to do with the way he (Hans) said stuff, and also some detail about the fairy tale. It was very fun listening and watching you watch the film.
Comment in audience: Great film.
Øvredal : Great! Thank you.
Got news? Click here to submit it!
Hunt trolls in the comments section below.