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AICN HORROR talks with Aleksander Nordaas, director of THALE (in theaters today)!

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Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with a special AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. THALE opens today for a limited theatrical release and it’s definitely a film worth seeking out. I caught up with writer/director Aleksander Nordaas to talk about his film. Here’s how the conversation transpired.

AMBUSH BUG (BUG): So I’m here with Aleksander Nordaas, director and writer of THALE. For those people who might not know anything about the film, how do you explain the film to folks?

ALEKSANDER NORDAAS (AN): Well, it’s taken mainly from Norwegian mythology. There’s a creature called the hulder and this story is about the discovery of her. And this is my contribution to that ancient folklore.

BUG: When I saw the film a while back, I noticed it is a mish mash of all kinds of genres. Adventure, horror, fantasy, drama. As you approached this film, what genre were you shooting for?

AN: I guess I didn’t want to adhere to one genre while writing it. I found it was very rewarding that it fits into so many genres at once. We added a lot of dramatic elements to it in the way we dealt with the title character.

BUG: How did this film come to life? What’s it’s story?

AN: It’s a very long story. We shot it on a very low budget. It started with emails with all of the three main actors and myself and we asked “how can we make this movie work?” Then we started tossing ideas around back and forth to each other. We knew early on we wanted to make a story about hulder. We had that idea in mind. So we worked out a story that we could afford, for starters, and a way that would challenge us as filmmakers. It would have been very easy to just have the characters running around in the woods, but we didn’t want to do that. We wanted something different—a little bit more challenging.

BUG: Let’s talk about the powers that Thale has. Sharing thoughts. Changing forms. Are those part of the folklore as well?

AN: According to folklore, she has a lot of powers from the original folklore and we added some of the original elements as well to fit the story. That was the fun part, translating the true aspects of the folklore and also acknowledge that folklore is always evolving. So we based it all on what was known already and moved forward from there.

BUG: Let’s talking about casting. Let’s talk about the guys first--Erlend Nervold who plays Elvis and Jon Sigve Skard who plays Leo. How did they become involved in the film?

AN: I worked with both actors before on a film called SIRKEL. And I knew I wanted to work with actors I knew for this project, so the characters were written with those two actors in mind.

BUG: And how about Thale herself? How did you find the beautiful Silje Reinåmo?

AN: I grew up with Silje and knew her from childhood. We grew up in the same small town. And the first time I worked with her was on a short film called CHAMBERS. And as soon as I worked with her there, I knew I wanted her to play this character. It was extremely helpful knowing all of the actors going into this project before this film.

BUG: Having no real lines herself, Silje had to act through facial expression and body language. What kind of direction did you give her in this film?

AN: I didn’t really direct her. We settled on the story together. And to be completely honest, we actually had a couple of lines for her, but we ended up editing those out. It helped to have an open dialog with the actors and let the scenes fit together better organically.

BUG: So haw was it for Silje to be in a bunker the entire time, naked with the cast and crew all there?

AN: It wasn’t hard to talk her into it. She understood the character needed to be naked the whole time. She was fine with it. It seemed like she was blocking the whole thing out. Of course, it was cold. So she had to deal with that. But again, we knew each other from early on, so that helped make it easier for her. Plus this was a small crew, not many guys on the crew, so there weren’t too many people there.

BUG: Let’s talk about the ending. You used CGI towards the end. Was there ever a point where you were planning on using practical effects?

AN: No, we didn’t. We knew it had to be digital or nothing. We shot the end two ways. One was if we didn’t have any money left to put in CGI and then another way with the CGI. At that stage of the shooting, we didn’t know if we would have enough money for CGI or not.

BUG: OK, so what’s going on with you next? Is this a time for you to relax after the long road to getting this film released or are you working on another project?

AN: THALE opened a lot of doors for me and right now, I’m trying to figure out which doors to go through. I have a couple of projects I have of my own going on and there are a couple of projects that have been offered to me. But right now, I’m trying to weigh my options and really make the right decision. I’m in a totally different situation than I was last year.

BUG: So what’s that like, having one film kind of open up a whole new set of doors for you?

AN: Well, it’s kind of overwhelming actually. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out where to go next and to try to listen to my gut and my brain at the same time. It’s kind of a challenging time, but also it’s a lot of fun.

BUG: Do you want to stay in the fantasy/horror/adventure genre, or are there other genres you are interested in exploring?

AN: I’d like to explore all of that, but I’m definitely going to stay in this realm as well. I’d also love to do children’s films as well. I’d love to explore all genres.

BUG: Very cool. Is there a chance we’d see a THALE 2?

AN: There might be. Many have asked and we’ll have to see.

BUG: Thank you so much for talking with me. THALE really was one of my favorite films I’ve seen so far this year. Congratulations on it!

AN: Really? Well, thank you. That’s really kind. Thank you, bye bye.

BUG: THALE is available on Video On Demand and in theaters today! Check out the trailer below and my review of the film after that.

Available now on Video On Demand from XLRatorMedia and in select theaters today!

THALE (2011)

Directed by Aleksander Nordaas
Written by Aleksander Nordaas
Starring Silje Reinåmo, Erlend Nervold, Jon Sigve Skard, Morten Andresen, Roland Astrand
Find out more about this film here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

My favorite film of the week is THALE, a modern fable with bite, is finally available for the mass consumption and showing up on Video On Demand this week!

And for that, you should consider yourselves lucky, because THALE is a truly unique and amazing film that I can only describe as SPLASH meets THE WOMAN as a pair of forensic cleaners on a routine clean up of an old man’s death scene in a house at the edge of a forested area uncover a secret corridor leading to an underground bunker which houses a very peculiar woman.

There’s a feeling of awe and whimsy in the air of this film. Though grounded in reality, there’s a real soul—an outwardly positive sense of heart. Don’t get me wrong, horror fans, things get dire and bloody by the end of the film, but there are some scenes on genuine connection between the most unlikeliest of souls in THALE. The reason I compare this to SPLASH is mainly because of the way these two men react to this naked feral woman when they first see it. In an American film, I think the reaction may be more sexual and possibly go to a more dastardly route as two men are basically stuck in a bunker with a naked woman, but THALE never goes there. Neither men show any sexual desire for the woman, at least it’s not outright in stating or suggesting so. They are two good souls looking to help this woman who is obviously lost and confused, offering her food, clothing, and shelter until the proper authorities arrive. What occurs are some nice meetings of minds, quite literally, as Thale (pronounces Tal-luh, as the audio cassettes scattered around the bunker refer to the woman as) seems to have the ability to share her experiences and touch minds, among other powers. But the authorities aren’t the only group ascending on the bunker, the discovery of Thale has alerted those she was taken from, and this is where things get dire, as this group is less than civilized.

The film is filled with fantastic performances by Erlend Nervold, who plays Elvis, a jittery and queasy man definitely not cut out for this line of work as he is first presented as vomiting at the sight of the dead body of the old man. His co-worker Leo, played by the calm and jaded Jon Sigve Skard, is your typical gum chewing mortician type, but moves past that as his apathy is explained much more thoroughly as the story goes on. Both of the men are likable and rapport nice between one another as to what to do with this weird woman. The highlight of the film is the discovery of the woman herself, Thale, played by the mesmerizing Silje Reinåmo, who I predict will be a Bond girl at some point if she gets the right agent. Here she shows a broad range from fearful and innocent Bambi to ferocious wild child and does so naked the whole time, which is a feat in itself, I’m sure. In her eyes alone and with very little dialog, Reinåmo embodies the curious, devoted, and trapped animal.

As I said, things get dire, dangerous, and quite bloody towards the end of this one as forces natural and unnatural close in on the bunker. The discovery of what exactly Thale really is is something I haven’t seen in film in a long time. The use of CG later in the film is decently done, but occasionally a bit too animated, but that’s my only complaint in this wholly entertaining film and that’s not really what this film is about anyway. Filled with gorgeous Norwegian landscapes and iconic imagery such as a severed tail in a refrigerator, THALE is an unearthed treasure and should not be missed.

See ya next week, folks!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 12 years & AICN HORROR for 3. He has written comics such as VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He has co-written FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND’s LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in 2013 as a 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark wrote the critically acclaimed GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment & GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-81. Look for GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES available in February-July 2013 and the new UNLEASHED crossover miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS WEREWOLVES: THE HUNGER #1-3 available in May-July 2013! Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitter @Mark_L_Miller.

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