The film's producer Karin Julsrud told NRK radio’s Kulturnytt programme that the project has already received funding from the Norwegian Film Institute. If everything goes to plan, the film will be shot next year and hit cinemas in 2017.
”We have worked hard to find the right director, and believe André Øvredal has exactly what it takes to dare to embark on this material," Julsrud told Dagbladet. "It is an advantage that he also has an international name, since this project cannot be financed by Scandinavian means alone”.
The Scandinavian Star caught fire on the way from Oslo to Fredrikshavn in Denmark. The blaze killed 159 people, most of them passengers trapped in their cabins.
The ship was eventually towed to the Swedish port of Lysekil where the fire was extinguished after burning for ten hours.
An investigation into the disaster found that at least four fires had been lit deliberately and criticized the crew for failing to call in specialist firefighters in time, costing many lives.
A follow-up investigation, carried out in 2013, laid the blame firmly on the crew members, accusing them of setting the boat on fire as part of an insurance scam.
The 2013 report exonerated an earlier suspect, Erik Mørk Andersen, a Danish man with a previous arson conviction, arguing that autopsies suggested he had been asphyxiated after only two of the four fires had been lit.
According to Julsrud, the investigations into the crime will be the focus of the new film.
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”The fire on Scandinavian Star was a huge disaster and the way the investigation was carried out can only be described as Scandinavia’s biggest miscarriage of justice in modern times,” She told NRK.
The film will be Øvredal's first in Norway since he moved to Hollywood, where he is now directing The Autopsy of Jane Doe, a horror film starring Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox.