Shot in Iceland over 19 days, Arctic is a film that’s definitely worth catching if you dig survivalist dramas. In this post .I included audio of Mads Mikkelsen’s reflection on shooting the end scene (which is a total knockout) and why he immediately said “yes” to the project.
Arctic centers on Overgård, a man who is stranded with apparently no hope in sight. When a woman (Maria Thelma Smáradóttir) crash lands her helicopter in the same area, his odds of surviving exponentially decreases. Taking care of her while also making sure they survive the unforgiving cold is insurmountable, and throughout the narrative director/writer Joe Penna keeps raising those stakes.
For Mikkelsen, accepting Arctic was an immediate process. “Yeah, I had a hunch. Initially, it was the story and then later on, it was Joe. I loved everything I read on that page, and then when I turned it, I loved the next page, and so on and so on. I thought it was pure and honest. It avoided falling into the traps of going down memory lane and flashbacks that kind of, for me . . . ruins the experience. So, I thought it was just a pure, beautiful and emotional journey. When I heard what Joe wanted to do with it I was sold, and I said, “yes” right away on the phone.”
I loved everything about Arctic and was riveted throughout its 98 minute runtime. The ending absolutely (no pun intended) stuck the landing, and it’s memorable and emotional climax lead to a solid reception for the film. In the clip below, Mikkelsen talks about the rigors of shooting Arctic’s end scene:
Transcript of Mads’ audio:
I use the word “difficult” when there is something that is not working. When there’s a scene you can’t crack or dialogue you don’t like, and you can’t figure out how to solve it. For me, that’s difficult. I didn’t feel that way at any point with this film. I felt it was tough. It may have been the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life, which is a different thing. The end scene was incredibly tough.
We all came to the end of the road. There was nothing left in the tank from any of us. We were completely exhausted. It was just very tough (emotionally) and (physically) to spend a full day doing that end scene. I love it when I watch it but I remember but we all felt that, “Thank God, it’s the last day.” (laughs)
Arctic hits theaters today.