Last week, the heavy metal blogosphere was presented with something we haven’t seen for a while in the trailer for the film Heavy Trip, which will premiere at SXSW this coming Saturday (10). A Finnish language comedy, the film is about a death metal band called Impaled Rektum on a road trip to play a metal festival in Norway. Unlike many film depictions of metalheads, however, it appears to have lots of respect for the genre while upholding a uniquely Finnish sensibility. We spoke to Making Movies’ Kai Nordberg, one of the film’s producers, about how it came to be the most expensive comedy ever produced in Finland, how important it was for them to make the film authentic when it comes to metal and what he envisions as a potential global audience of half a billion metalheads.
Nordberg says that the fact that directors Jukka Vidgren and Juuso Laatio were well-versed in the world of metal, along with the original concept of the film, inspired by American films Detroit Rock City, This is Spinal Tap and The Blues Brothers, was what led his company to get involved. “We turned [the directors’] idea into a movie script, so we were there right from the beginning four years ago,” he tells us. “Then again one needs to have lived through all this in order to write such material. So the directors really knew their world.” He adds that of the two directors, Laatio was the resident expert that insisted the details be right.
One such detail was having Stratovarius’ Lauri Porra compose the film’s soundtrack. “It was a great blessing to get Lauri on board,” Nordberg says. “Lauri also really liked the project. He has composed several film scores but never worked with a comedy. It was absolutely vital for the film to have someone as highly professional musician as Lauri on board.”
And while Heavy Trip is the most expensive comedy ever produced in Finland, Nordberg says it wasn’t hard to surpass that, as most Finnish comedies are very low budget. He said that bringing in Belgian co-producer VFX allowed the budget to be raised, but it’s still a low budget film by international standards. But they’ve definitely got their sights set on the rest of the world. It’s world premiere is in America at SXSW for a reason. “The HM community is very global and we wanted to reach out for them since they would have a heart for our story,” Nordberg says. “It is a huge community. I was calculating that is at least 500 million people world wide.”
As for his home country, Nordberg says that the film combines the best exports of Finland. “Finland is a remote Nordic country far away from everything,” he says. “Still we do have a highest number of metal bands per capita in the world. The mental state of the story is very Finnish. It is hard to break the circle of negativity here in the very north. Often you need powerful means to break through, and that´s exactly what metal music provides!”
Heavy Trip will premiere on March 10th at 10:30pm.