A national hero at the 2018 soccer World Cup 2018 after famously blocking a penalty shot from Argentine star Lionel Messi, Icelandic-born professional goalkeeper and filmmaker Hannes Þór Halldórsson is poised for another daunting challenge – pitching his first feature as a director, “Cop Secret,” at Sweden’s Göteborg Nordic Film Market.
Picked by Göteborg head of industry Cia Edström as one of 16 works in progress’ discoveries to watch, the Icelandic action drama is based on an original idea by Halldórsson and actors Auðunn Blönda (“The Big Rescue”) and Egill Einarsson (“Black’s Game”) who topline the cast, next to “Trapped”’s Björn Hlynur Haraldsson and Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir.
Nína Petersen, Sverrir Þór Sverrisson (“The Big Rescue”) and Halldórsson co-wrote the screenplay. The movie is produced by “Arctic” co-producer Lilja Ósk Snorradóttir of Pegasus Pictures, one of Iceland’s leading production services outfits, having worked on “Game of Thrones”, “Succession”, and “Fortitude,” among others.
“Cop Secret” centers on a tough super-cop, in denial of his sexuality who falls in love with his new partner, while investigating a string of bank break-ins where nothing seems to have been stolen.
Snorradóttir said the movie draws from Halldórsson’s life-long awe for Hollywood actioners. “It is in the spirit of ‘Lethal Weapon’ and ‘Last Boy Scout,’ although set in Iceland, which makes it unique.”
“My ambition and dream has always been to move towards feature film when I had the chance,” said Halldórsson, adding that given his unusual career as a filmmaker, combining it with professional soccer, his schedule had only allowed him to work on shorter projects, such as commercials and music videos, which include Iceland’s Eurovision video in 2012.
He went on: “I’m still an active soccer player, but the opportunity arose to make ‘Cop Secret”’ with Pegasus working around my soccer schedule. There was no doubt in my mind that I had to jump in at the deep end and go for it!”
Halldórsson added that “Cop Secret” is “a fun project, in the works for many years and fresh for the Icelandic market. I am very excited to finish the film and I am guessing the premiere night will be more fun than saving a penalty from Messi at the World Cup.”
Snorradóttir said juggling betweenHalldórsson’s busy soccer schedule, filming during COVID-19 was challenging, but shooting was ultimately locked in late December.
“Cop Secret” was backed by The Icelandic Film Centre, The Ministry of Industries and Innovation, Sýn and local distributor Samfilm.
Göteborg’s Nordic Film Market runs Feb. 4-7.