SF Studios has announced that Gustaf Skarsgård (Vikings) and Matias Varela (Narcos) will star in 438 dagar (438 Days), based on the true story of journalist Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson, who were sentenced to 11 years in an Ethiopian prison for terrorism.
In 2011 Martin Schibbye (Gustaf Skarsgård) and Johan Persson (Matias Varela) crossed the border from Somalia into Ethiopia to report on how the pursuit for oil had affected those living in the conflict-ridden region of Ogaden. Five days later they lay wounded in the desert, shot and captured by the Ethiopian army.
After being sentenced to 11 years for terrorism, their daily lives became a fight for survival as they were exposed to deadly diseases, daily beatings and deprived of their freedom of speech. Upon their release they wrote about their experiences in the book 438 dagar, which is described as a cross between One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Black Hawk Down.
Writer Peter Birro (Monica Z) said: “The story of Johan and Martin is so important for me to tell, because it poses a lot of uncomfortable questions about Sweden’s role in the world. But above all, it’s about their friendship… and the impossible choices you have to make to save your life when you realise that you have become pawns in a major political game.”
438 dagar, directed by Jesper Ganslandt, begins filming in South Africa and Västra Götaland from May until July.