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Iceland Plays a Big Role in Will Ferrell’s New Eurovision Movie

Today, Netflix premiered the movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. With the actual Eurovision Song Contest cancelled this year, this new comedy will hopefully provide some consolation for die-hard fans of the competition.

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Today, Netflix premiered the movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. With the actual Eurovision Song Contest cancelled this year, this new comedy will hopefully provide some consolation for die-hard fans of the competition.

Netflix’s Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is co-written by Ferrell himself, and directed by Wedding Crashers’ David Dobkin. Ferrell has previously revealed he’s been a Eurovision fan since his wife introduced him to the competition in 1999.

The film was initially scheduled to be released in May of 2020 to coincide with the Eurovision Song Contest. However, as fans will know, the competition was cancelled, meaning the release date of the movie was also delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the Eurovision Song Contest?

The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the world’s biggest annual television events. It is an international song competition with participants representing countries from all over Europe — and a few from outside of the continent. With the exception of this year, the competition has been held annually since 1956.

Each country submits their own artist and original song to perform live in the contest. The performances are usually colourful, often tongue-in-cheek and very over-the-top. The participating countries then cast votes to determine the overall winner. 

Daði & Gagnamagnið performing
Daði & Gagnamagnið performing their new track Think About Things. Photo: Daði & Gagnamagnið to represent Iceland in Eurovision 2020

The Eurovision Song Contest was due to take place in Rotterdam in May this year following the Netherlands’ victory in the 2019 competition. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled due to coronavirus.

Iceland has participated in Eurovision since 1986. They have never won the competition, but have reached second place twice, in 1999 and 2009. To the collective disappointment of Icelanders, this year’s entry — Daði & Gagnamagnið — was predicted for the top spot. 

What is the Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga about?

The story takes place in 1972 (16 years before Iceland’s real-life participation in Eurovision) and revolves around two small-town singers, Icelandic musicians Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams). Together, the pair make up the musical act, Fire Saga.

Although hated in their own country, Fire Saga somehow manages to bumble their way into being Iceland’s representatives at the Eurovision Song Contest. 

The plot follows them as they strive to prove themselves to their Icelandic brethren—especially Lars’ disappointed father, Erick, played by Pierce Brosnan. 

Fire Saga’s participation is also an opportunity to make Iceland’s age-old dream come true; to finally win the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Who is in the Eurovision movie?

As stated previously, the two main characters, Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdottir, are played by Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. 

McAdams said in an interview with Original-Cin that she watched “every Björk interview” in preparation for this role. 

They are joined by Pierce Brosnan, playing Lars’ father Erick, who—according to the trailer—is “possibly the most handsome man in Iceland”. 

In an interview with ET, Brosnan admitted that he tried to convince the crew to let him sing in the movie by showing them his platinum and gold album he got for Mamma Mia! Here. 

Unfortunately for fans of the ABBA musical, he does not sing in the movie. 

Other notable appearances are from Dan Stevenson of Downton Abbey fame, and singer Demi Lovato. Talk show host and famed Eurovision commentator, Graham Norton, also makes a cameo in the film, playing himself.

A still from the TV Show Trapped
Photo: Trapped

A few Icelanders can also be found in the movie. Fans of the Trapped series might recognise detective Andri, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, who appears in the film as Neils Brongus, and Nína Dögg Filuppsdóttir, known previously for her role as Agnes in the same series.

Make sure to keep an eye out for Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (Game of Thrones, Atomic Blonde), Tómas Lemarquis (Blade Runner 2049, X-Men: Apocalypse), and Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (Fortitude, The Witcher).

Where was the Eurovision movie filmed?

Filming for Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga took place in both Edinburgh and Iceland, mostly in the northern town of Húsavík.

Húsavík is a small town of little over 2.000 people on the eastern shore of Skjálfandi Bay in North Iceland. 

It is part of both the Arctic Coast Way, a route of over 900 km of coastal roads close to the Arctic Circle, and the Diamond Circle, the North’s answer to the Golden Circle sightseeing route. 

Húsavík is known as the ‘Whale Watching Capital of Iceland’ with tours departing from the harbour every day. It is also home to GeoSea spa, where visitors can unwind in geothermal waters while searching for whales in Skjálfandi Bay. 

See the trailer for Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga below:

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