Behind-the-scenes interviews, filming and plot details incoming!
We’re all about The Bridge IIII at the moment (did you notice?), but waiting in the wings is one of the other Nordic heavyweights – Trapped, from Iceland.
There have been various reports recently detailing filming in Reykjavik and, indeed, the first trailer was released for the new series last week, which is set to premiere in its native land on state broadcaster RÚV in the autumn.
Iceland Review said of the plot of series two [MILD SPOILERS AHEAD]:
While the show’s first season centered on a murder mystery in a remote Icelandic town physically isolated by a raging blizzard, the second series deals with more psychological forms of entrapment. As an Icelandic government minister enters the parliament building, she is attacked by a man who sets fire to both of them. Investigation of the incident then takes unexpected turns.
Those unexpected plot twists will touch on hot topic issues in Iceland and around the world, such as imported labour and heavy industry.
Meanwhile, Iceland Mag said on 8th May of the filming process:
The wait will soon be over, as shooting for the second season has already started at Siglufjörður village in North Iceland and in downtown Reykjavík. The National Broadcasting Service has revealed that some scenes will also be shot on Reykjanes peninsula. Some scenes will also be shot in the Central Highlands.
Yesterday the film crew was shooting at Austurvöllur square in front of the house of parliament. A number of police cars and an ambulance in front of parliament caused some concern among pedestrians.
And, of course, there was last week’s trailer:
We loved it, and it’s obvious the excitement is very definitely building for this superior crime series.
So we thought now would be a good time to some details directly from our friends in the production team. We’re very lucky to count some of the Trapped team as friends of the site, and no more so than Sigurjón Kjartansson, Trapped showrunner and, along with director Baltasar Kormákur, head of RVK Studios. He agreed to answer some question for us on the where series two is currently residing.
The Killing Times: At what stage are you with the production on Trapped 2?
Sigurjón Kjartansson: We have finished principal photography and making some progress in the editing room.
TKT: The first trailer was released by RÚV last week. Was that an exciting moment or are you so up-to-your neck in post-production it’s not that big of a moment?
SK: Well, this trailer was completed and premiered last month at MipTV in Cannes, but we released it on RÚV (Iceland’s National Broadcaster) during the first night of Eurovision (last Tuesday) – when Iceland was competing – which is a huge TV watching night here in Iceland.
TKT: The trailer looked fantastic. Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about the plot – there seem to be two murders, some angry farmers, dead sheep and a real environmental theme to this series…
SK: You’re right, you will get angry farmers. You will have sheep. You will have environmental issues. But you will see so much more. And I am not going to tell you how many murders there will be.
TKT: What part did crime novelist Yrsa Sigurðardóttir play in the development of the plot? I’ve read that Baltasar Kormakur has said that her knowledge of engineering was invaluable…
SK: Yrsa came in at a very early stage in the development but then she was off, writing her novels. But we could always turn to her if and when we needed more knowledge about how those things work. I would love to work more with Yrsa in the future since she is probably the coolest writer I’ve met. And she works great in a writer’s room, which might be a surprise for a novelist.
TKT: What was it like getting Darri [Ólafur Darri Ólafsson] and Ilmur [Kristjánsdóttir] and the rest of the cast back together again? It had been a while – was the chemistry instant again?
SK: Reykjavik is a small city and we all meet on a regular basis. The actors are all good friends and the chemistry is always there.
TKT: You seem to have done more filming in Reykjavik in this series. What kind of extra challenges did that bring?
SK: Believe it or not it brought more weather challenges. But as you see in the trailer, we are not using snow as much as the last season. So that was a challenge since this winter was a little more snowy than usual.
TKT: Trapped really seemed to kick-start an interest in Icelandic drama. Did you feel any extra pressure in this series?
SK: I think we have a very active quality control on every level of production. So I guess the pressure comes from within. It wasn’t easy the last time and it’s not easy now. It’s never easy.
TKT: We’re told the series will air in the autumn in Iceland. Any word on foreign sales (UK??)?
SK: I think you should get confirms from Dynamic Television or BBC4 on that.
And we’re sure we will get confirmation soon on a UK broadcaster, although we’re fairly certain it’s going to be BBC Four again – it should be, the channel is listed as a co-producer after all – and that maybe, just maybe, we’ll get it in the lead-up to Christmas. We’ll see.
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir: I was the one in the room pushing for more murders
What interested us in Sigurjón’s answers was the involvement in the writing room of Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, the award-winning Icelandic crime novelist. We thought we’d catch up with Yrsa to see how things went in the writing room…
The Killing Times: How did you become involved in the process?
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir: I was approached by Reykjavík Studios and asked if I wanted to be involved. I said yes immediately as I loved the first season of Trapped. I was however only able to join the first stage of story development as I had a book to write, so my part was not a big one. I would have loved to continue with them and see the story develop but it was impossible.
TKT: How did you find the whole idea of the writing room? Novelists are notoriously used to their own company – was the process of collaboration something that you enjoyed?
YS: I had a great time in the writing room. One of the things about writing is that it can be very lonely. You are alone with your thoughts and your laptop much of the time. A writing room involves writing with other people – a sort of “un-lonely” writing. There were however only three of us as it was pretty early on in the process: Sigurjón, I and Margrét Örnólfsdóttir who used to play the keyboards for the Sugar Cubes. She is now one of Iceland‘s foremost screenwriters. My feeling was that we made a good team. Sigurjón knows everything there is to be known about screenwriting, pacing and character development. Margrét was simply super, kept amazing me with her spot-on comments and insight into Icelandic culture and people in general. Me? I was the one in the room pushing for more murders – I wanted one per episode.
TKT: Sigurjón and Baltasar have spoken about the fact that your knowledge of engineering came in very handy. Can you elaborate without giving away too many plot points?
YS: I gave a bit of advice regarding power plants and harnessing of geothermal resources – can‘t say any more I‘m afraid. The story has changed leaps and bounds from the first storyline so I am just waiting excitedly like everyone else to see what unfolds.
TKT: The first series of Trapped was a huge success, and really put Icelandic (crime) drama on the map, even though you, Árni [Þórarinsson]and Arnaldur [Indriðason] have been flying the flag in crime fiction for a while now. Was it fun to see those two worlds come together for this project?
YS: It was very enjoyable. Icelandic TV drama has been picking up pace in the last few years and becoming really professional in all aspects, whereas literature and writing has been here forever and long past the learning curve. But knowing how successful and well written the first series of Trapped was did put a lot of pressure on. It is unacceptable to disappoint in the second series.
TKT: Would you like to be involved in more TV or film projects in the future? Harlan Coben seems to be writing crime dramas now, do you think you’d like to do that?
YS: I would very much like to do something similar again but not if it means I have to put my novel writing to one side. So between my engineering job (if I still have one after Trapped 2 has aired) and my crime novel writing, I cannot see myself having much time for such involvement. But who knows.
Yrsa’s new book, The Reckoning, is the second in her Freyja and Huldar series. It tells the story of a chilling note predicting the deaths of six people, which is found in a school’s time capsule, 10 years after it was buried. Arne Dahl says of The Reckoning: “Yrsa Sigurdardóttir has, with her large-scale and genuinely intelligent stories, attempted to find the core of Iceland’s distinctive society, and thus pushed the Icelandic crime novel tradition many steps forward.” It’s out to buy now.
[Interviews by Paul Hirons]