Celebrity Interview: Stellan Skarsgard and Director Hans Petter Moland on the Making of In Order of Disappearance

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In Order of Disappearance, from Magnet Releasing and Paradox, presents a devastated father as he comes to grips with his son's murder and inadvertently begins an inter-cartel slaughter in a revenge filled contemporary dark, Eastern European, drug smuggling comedy.

In Order Of Disappearance stars Stellan Skarsgaard (The Lady With The Dragon Tattoo) as Nils Dickman, Pal Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Jakob Oftebro, all memorable from the 2014 film Kon-Tiki, Bruno Ganz,  and Birgitte Hjort Sorenson all of whom are very familiar to American audiences and create an on screen familiarity.

Having the opportunity to speak with both In Order of Disappearance star Stellan Skarsgard and Director Hans Petter Moland. Below is an excerpt of our conversation.

Janet Walker: So tell me how In Order of Disappearance came about?

Hans Petter Moland: It's an original Idea I started developing 15 years ago. After so much demand I got together with Stellan and the producers and the writer of the film. They asked me what I wanted to do next and I suggested the story I had written and that's how it started. And we developed it from there. I had a hard time convincing Stellan to be a part of it. He wasn't sure if it was a fit for him.

Stellan Skarsgard: It was very raw.

JW: Stellan, can you explain a little why you hesitated becoming involved in it.

SS: The script. When I read the script I couldn't see the film. I didn't understand what kind of film it was. It was such a mixture of different genres and styles and everything. It was all over the place and I couldn't see a coherent story or film being made out of it. But Hans Petter had a very wise thing to say to me that convinced me to do it.

JW: What was that?

SS: Trust me.

Big Snow, Bitter Cold and The Heroin Trade

JW: (laughs) Well okay. It's obviously very cold. Is that a normal winter where In Order of Disappearance was filmed?

HPM: It's shot up in the high mountain above the tree line. It's one of the coldest places in Norway and it was a very cold winter. So it was -30/-40 at its coldest. We had very good catering courtesy of Stellan who insisted we get a good chef otherwise he wouldn't do the film.

JW: Ah. That's great.

HPM/Stellan: That's great. Coming in for lunch was the high point of the day. We were all packed in like children going to Kindergarten. We didn't freeze.  

JW: Stellan, the snowplows are a big part of the film. The story centers on snowplows which are huge and featured prominently throughout. Did you learn to drive the plows or was it a double?

SS: In Norway. It was a great pleasure. I enjoyed it. It was fantastic when you have such a big powerful machine and you go into snowdrifts two or three yards high and just blow them away. Fantastic.

JW: Those were some amazing scenes. The cinematography was stunning. The film centers on the drug trade in Norway which from an American viewpoint it seemed non-existent. You have it focused where Heroin is very prevalent, is it?

HPM: Norway used to be a very innocent country and no heroin, until the mid 1990's, when the Balkans War started and some of the Balkans people were financing their wars by selling heroin. And right now, Norway is the Heroin capital of Europe. But the huge problem, and it's a fairly old benign society, is the genesis of the people who feel like to outsiders we seem like easy pickings. Police and law enforcement are not taken very seriously.

Challenges, Memorable Moments and Next

JW: That's very interesting. What were some of the challenges, other than the weather, that you faced during filming, In Order of Disappearance?

HPM: I think I had a vision of making this film with a lot of energy and exuberance, keeping it light and daring to link the genres freely without losing your balls in a way. It was a big balance. It's safe, oh I better say it's safe or the whole film could topple and you have to charge ahead and trust the instincts that the strength of the material is in exactly making the right mix of satire, comedy and drama, and action and splatter.

JW: What were some of your memorable moments?

HPM: For me it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. People like to talk about how hard it is to make films. Of course, it looks a lot like real work. I had wonderful actors with me who were extremely generous. Terrific crew and I felt like everyone was pitching in to make the most of it. There wasn't any conflict or people threatening to topple it.

JW: Stellan what were some of challenges in making the film

SS: I had the same worries but less confidence. I was worried that we couldn't get all those different styles together. And when I had the first scene in the film with the guy who played The Count, Pal Sverre Hagen, and I was playing very low key, very natural, very naturalistic, and he comes in and so over the top, and I was thinking "are we in the same movie?" So when Hans Petter again said '"Trust me,"' so I trusted him again and he hasn't let me down yet.

JW: What's next for the both of you?

HPM: Well, I'm like most directors I hoping I get to work again. I have a few projects hopefully be active in a year.

Stellan: I just finished Music, War and Love and then I can take the rest of the year off. After I'm doing my first Swedish film in 20 years, called Borg vs. McEnroe, after that, I'm looking forward to The Man who Killed Don Quixote with Terry Gilliam.

JW: That's sounds great. I'm looking forward to seeing all of it.

Stellan can also be seen in Our Kind of Traitor which is in theaters currently.  

In Order of Disappearance has been playing throughout the world and is a Festival favorite since its United States premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014, having played the Berlin International Film Festival in February of 2014.

Since then, In Order of Disappearance has premiered in France, Seattle, Sydney, Edinburgh, New Zealand, Sarajevo, Manaki, Spain, Haifa, Turkey, Chicago, Philadelphia, Kiev, Abu Dhabi, Taipei, Hawaii, Slovenia, Denver, Netherlands, Palm Springs, Belgrade, Portland and even Cleveland, Ohio.

In Order Of Disappearance has many great elements. The script, of course, which engages and delivers. The stunning cinematography shot entirely in Norway, somewhere in a deep, snow covered, mountain region, with big snow blowers that handle the serious snow that figures prominently. In Order of Disappearance is in Norwegian with English subtitles. See this if you can!

In Order of Disappearance opens Friday, August 26, 2017 in Los Angeles at the NuArt Theater.