Norway’s Sonja Henie skates into theatrical and television biopics
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
09/05/2012 - Norwegian figure skater-turned-Hollywood actress Sonja Henie – at 25 the youngest receipient of a Norwegian Knighthood First Class – will be the subject both of a feature film and television series, currently in preparation by Norwegian production outfit Maipo Film & TV Produksjon AS, and Norwegian pubcaster NRK.
Norwegian producer Synnøve Hørsdal, of Maipo Film, confirmed that casting has started for the €7.6 million biopic which will be directed by Norwegian director Anne Sewitsky, whose 2010 feature debut Happy, Happy [trailer]won her the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
According to NRK Project Manager Tone Rønning, the broadcaster is also planning a series about Henie, but is yet to decide for the ‘go ahead’. It will be produced by Kari Moen Kristiansen for Filmkameratene AS (Max Manus [trailer], The Troll Hunter [trailer, film focus]).
“Any focus on Henie is good for us, and we are making a film with one of Norway’s most talented directors,” Hørsdal said. “The only problem could be that the TV series came first, and audiences did not like it, but I do not think it will come out like that with the project that NRK has.”
A ten-time world champion, six-time European champion and three-time Olympic champion, Henie took more titles than any other ladies figure skater, before becoming a top actress in Hollywood.
Henie won her first major competition – the senior Norwegian championships – in 1922, when she was 10, and took more world, European and Olympic titles than any other ladies figure skater, introducing the costume of short skirt, white boots and using dance choreography.
In 1936 she was signed to Twentieth Century Fox on a contract that made her one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. She played in ten films, also performing in touring ice shows. Henie died from leukemia in 1969, aged 57.