Secret plan

Cop Secret writers and stars on how a comedy trailer turned into an action movie

by Amber Wilkinson

Auðunn Blöndal: 'When we were doing the car scenes, if you do those in Hollywood, or probably any other country, they shut down the streets. We did not'
Auðunn Blöndal: 'When we were doing the car scenes, if you do those in Hollywood, or probably any other country, they shut down the streets. We did not'
It might seem like an unconventional career path to go from international football player to film director but the unconventional is par for the course in the debut from Iceland goalie Hannes Þór Halldórsson. Cop Secret treats Iceland as though it was a Hollywood location, as rough and ready Bussi (Auðunn Blöndal) finds his new partner Hörthur (Egill Einarsson) a challenge professionally but also in personal ways that he did not expect. The pair of them are on the hunt for the racily named Rikki Ferrari (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson), a bad guy whose nefarious plot is only gradually revealed.

The film, which premiered in Locarno, recently had it's UK premiere at London Film Festival and we caught up with the cast to chat about their roles. Reading  Blöndal and Einarsson's CVs, which also highlight jobs in radio and on television, not to mention Einarsson's modelling and strength coach gigs, it seems multi-tasking is quite popular in Iceland. Blöndal says: "Yeah, I think, because it's a small country, people get to know you."

Einarsson adds: "I think in Iceland, because we have a small population it's really hard to feed just an actor and support your family. So then you have multiple jobs. It's like one block in New York, you know, the population. So everybody knows everybody."

Auðunn Blöndal and Egill Einarsson as Bussi and Hörthur in Cop Secret
Auðunn Blöndal and Egill Einarsson as Bussi and Hörthur in Cop Secret
The idea for the film sprang from a chat between the director and the actors a decade ago, and Blöndal says that, in keeping with the film's unconventional stance, everything started with a trailer.

He said: "I think it's the first movie ever made when the trailer comes before the movie? We had a TV show and my friends and I had a competition to see who would do the best trailer. Like it was a movie coming out. And this was my trailer. And 10 years later, it's actually a movie."

Haraldsson adds: "This was 10 years in the making. Of course, Hannes had his professional career as a goalkeeper so it wasn't really possible to do it. But I'm really happy that we actually did in the end." In addition to treating Iceland as though it is the mean streets of New York, the film also plays around with gender conventions, drawing on and amplifying the sort of bromantic charge that was often part of buddy cop movies of the 90s.

"For us it was like, if it was just two cops in Reykjavik, running around, it would be that you can't have that joke for 90 minute," says Blöndal . "So we wanted to give the characters something that people could relate to, and just have it be a little different. Because if it was 90 minutes of us with guns running around, nobody cares." Einarsson adds: "Also, you know, all these action movies, old movies always have these, you know, strong men. And, and now we're going to, you know, smash that stereotype, because you can have two tough cops who love each other."

Blöndal, who co-wrote the script with the director and Nína Pedersen is proud of the look they achieved for the money. He says: "Somebody calculated that the budget for our film is 0.03% of The Fast and The Furious. So this film, cost less than the Rock's trailer, in The Fast And The Furious. So we just pulled together a small group and had so much fun."

Einarsson adds: "We are all good friends. So it just was a fun day at the office."

Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, right, as Rikki. Haraldsson on his character: 'No cliche was a bad idea'
Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, right, as Rikki. Haraldsson on his character: 'No cliche was a bad idea'
Although all the stars were having a good time, there was also plenty of thought that went into the film, particularly when Haraldsson was preparing his character. Rikki speaks in English and uses animal aphorisms as a sort of running joke, not to mention being sadistic and dressing in black. "No cliche was a bad idea," says Haraldsson.

The actor, who can also be seen in upcoming Icelandic film Lamb, adds: "Hannes and we were really thinking about the kind of details of a good baddie. For example, he has sunglasses, which are really small and rounded. We tested a lot of sunglasses to find the right ones."

The shooting on the movie also had some unconventional moments, not least the fact that the car chase scene was shot on regular open roads.

Blöndal says: "When we were doing the car scenes, if you do those in Hollywood, or probably any other country, they shut down the streets. We did not. We called the police and said, 'Okay, we're shooting a movie. So just so you know, we're driving and we're shooting'. They said: 'Okay'. But then I'm with a gun outside the window and shooting and they got like 200 calls about somebody shooting a gun because nobody knew that we were shooting a movie."

The cast are also hoping a sequel might be in the pipeline. "It was so ridiculously fun, that we hope that we can make a Cop Secret 2, because these action movies usually have 1,2,3,4,5. So hopefully, it's the first of many," says Einarsson.

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