Maipo Film has announced that Askeladden – i Dovregubbens hall (The Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King), which opened in Norway on Friday, will be the first in a trilogy costing 180 million kroner.
In The Ash Lad, Espen Askeladd (Vebjørn Enger), a poor farmer’s son embarks on a dangerous quest with his brothers to save Princess Kristin (Eili Harboe) from the Mountain King troll, and use the reward to save the family farm from ruin.
The original tale dates back to the 13th century and was handed down by spoken word through the generations until it was finally committed to paper in the 19th century by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe.
Director Mikkel Brænne Sandemose told NTB: “I must praise the scriptwriters who have managed to add something new and fresh, while digging deep into the famous adventures… I think it will make children interested in folk tales.”
Like Tolkien’s hobbits, Askeladden is a hero who relies on nothing more than a good heart and common sense to guide him in his quest. However, Brænne Sandemose is careful to point out that the similarities are rooted in a shared history:
“Tolkien borrowed much from Norwegian folklore and mythology in his stories… But I feel that we convey something that is more grounded and Norwegian, that there is something here that will really engage people.”
The second film in the trilogy will follow Askeladden and Princess Kristin as they search for a legendary castle. When they arrive, the king and queen have been poisoned, and only the Soria Moria water of life can save them. Filming begins in May.