SF Studios Board’s thriller The Nation’s Gambit based on best sellers

Norwegian director Jens Lien (“Beforeigners”, “The Troublesome Man”) will direct The Nation’s Gambit, a feature film adaptation of aspiring author Johan Høst’s best-selling debut novel En nasjon i sjakk.

The action thriller is being produced by the Norwegian production company Stig og Stein Studio. SF Studios is co-producing and will distribute the film in Scandinavia, while Reinvent Studios will handle international distribution.

Høst’s novel, published by Vigmostad & Bjørke, was recently nominated for the Norwegian Bookseller Award 2022 and a serial is on the way.

The story of The Nation’s Gambit begins with the Norwegian prime minister being kidnapped by a terrorist and disappearing without a trace. The terrorist demands that the politicians in power play a game of chess for the Prime Minister’s life. The chess pieces represent people who work for the state or as leaders in society. If the politicians win the game, the prime minister will live, but every time the terrorist takes a piece, a person pays with their life. The politicians and their appointed rescue team, the Delta Squad, face an impossible dilemma with only 24 hours to save the Prime Minister.

Written by Rakel Kraft Biørnstad and Christopher Grøndahl, the film will revolve around Anton Block, Delta Squad’s Operations Manager, and his right-hand man, Björk Jónsdottir.

En nasjon i sjakk is part of a trilogy and the second novel is in development. “Now the story lives on and will get new perspectives and angles in a big action movie setting,” said Høst, who ran his own advertising agency before becoming a writer.

“I’ve been a long-time fan of Jens Lien, and the fact that he’s going to film my book is a surreal out-of-body experience for me,” Høst continued. He added that he was inspired to expand the Delta Squad story into a trilogy and is currently writing the second work.

Lien’s latest film, The Troublesome Man, has won three Amanda Awards and a flurry of international acclaim. The Nation’s Gambit marks Lien’s return to feature films after 10 years directing television series, including the HBO hit series Beforeeigners.

“Johan wrote quite a story where shock effect is obviously one of the ingredients. At the same time, he balances seriousness, playfulness, brutality and style in a way you don’t often see in Norwegian film,” said Lien, who described the story’s “heroes” as “superb, funny and clever,” while the villains are evil and sinful.”

Lien said he also found “Johan’s cocktail of big politics, chess, terror and revenge modern, fresh and daring”. The director added that the film is reminiscent of 1990s action thriller classics like The Negotiator and Seven.

“The Nation’s Gambit” is co-produced by Norwegian production company Stig og Stein Studio
Producers Stig Hjerkinn Haug, Fredrik Støbakk and Tale Bryn Teign.

“Johan’s debut as a writer is completely unprecedented in the Norwegian context. The reviews that
Reader feedback and the book’s tremendous sales make us humbled in our mission to bring this story to the big screen,” said producers Stig Hjerkinn Haug, Fredrik Støbakk and Tale Bryn Teign.

Silje Nikoline Glimsdal, senior acquisition manager at SF Studios, said the book was a page-turner with an “exciting plot and a high-profile concept” that “made it clear that this could be turned into a theatrical hit”.

https://variety.com/2022/film/global/sf-studios-the-nations-gambit-jens-lien-1235438719/ SF Studios Board’s thriller The Nation’s Gambit based on best sellers

Charles Jones

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