Sweden goes back to roots of Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
21/05/2012 - The family story of Pippi Longstocking, the world's strongest girl - the brainchild of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, whose books about her sold 150 million copies worldwide - has found its way to screen.
At Cannes, Swedish producer Mirijam Johansson, of Sweden's Wanted Pictures, announced she had instigated Efraim Longstocking and the Cannibal Princess, based on two books by Swedish author Joakim Langer, a screenplay by Daniel Fridell and Ulf Stark, and approved by Saltkråkan, which holds Lindgren's rights.
Johansson - who has produced Swedish films such as Bloodbrothers (2005), with Millennium's Noomi Rapace in the lead, and Allan Gustafsson's June (2011), with David Dencik - is currently negotiating with a top US screenwriter who will transfer the books and the endorsed script.
Lindgren was inspired for the Efraim character - Pippi's father - by Carl Pettersson, a Swedish sailor who became king of the Tabar Island - inhabited by cannibals - after marrying the chieftain's daughter, then found a goldmine and was named the strongest man in the Bismarck archipelago. In 2004, Langer went to the island in Papua New Guinea to further explore the family history, and first wrote In Search of Efraim and Pippi Longstocking and the King, on which Fridell-Stark based their script.
Lindgren's first Pippi book was rejected by Sweden's Bonnier Publishing - Time Magazine included it among the 100 most influential novels ever written. Originally, the character was invented in the early 1930s when she was a typist and stenographer and wanted to amuse her daughter; the stories were written between 1945-1948, 1969-1975, in 1979 and 2000.