Aku Louhimies’ adaptation of the best selling novel by Väinö Linna, The Unknown Soldier (Tuntematon sotilas), is slated for release on 27th October 2017 to coincide with Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence.
The Unknown Soldier tells the story of a platoon of ordinary Finnish soldiers on the battlefield between Finland and the Soviet Union during the Second World War. The script is based on the uncensored version of Väinö Linna’s 1954 novel Sotaromaani (The War Novel), which was released in 2000, and has been adapted twice before (1955 and 1985).
“The story of The Unknown Soldier is very universal,” says Aku Louhimies. “It’s a gripping portrayal of how a tragedy changes us all.”
The full cast for the film will be announced in June 2016, but so far 14,000 people have signed up to volunteer as extras and the following roles are confirmed: Eero Aho (Corporal Rokka), Jussi Vatanen (Second Lieutenant Koskela), Aku Hirviniemi (Corporal Hietanen), Johannes Holopainen (Second Lieutenant Kariluoto), Juho Milonoff (Private Honkajoki), Andrei Alén (Private Rahikainen), Joonas Saartamo (Corporal Lahtinen), Hannes Suominen (Private Vanhala), and Arttu Kapulainen (Susi “Suen tassu”).
Louhimies says of the cast: “We strive for realism and accuracy in describing history. This group of actors will be made in to a real team – and will carry a great responsibility for the final overall result.”
“Their physical fitness has been improved, in part by attending training camps by The National Defense Training Association, and they have become acquainted with the life of a soldier – both on the land and in the barracks.”
“During the shoots the actors will live in the forest in tents, take care of their own equipment and eat the food of Leijona Catering – like real privates.”
Filming for The Unknown Soldier begins on June 6th and 80 days are scheduled, including both autumn and winter shoots. Set locations include Karjalan prikaati in Vekaranjärvi, Kotka-Hamina, Helsinki and North Karelia.