Norwegian comedy film sells rights to ABC
The U.S. TV company ABC has bought the rights to use the Fredrikstad characters from the film “Lange flate ballær.”
“We sold the rights to the film to ABC early last fall,” says Espen Horn of the company Motion Blur.
Together with Harald Zwart Veslemøy and screenwriter Paul Sparre Enger, he negotiated the agreement with ABC.
“We have chosen to keep a low profile around the agreement, because there is a good distance between the sale of the option and an actual TV series,” says Horn.
He does not deny that much of the impetus comes from Zwart’s large network of contacts in Hollywood. The director himself thinks that the sale of “Lange flate ballær” has contributed to the interest for Norwegian TV series in general. Recently, the television company Fox purchased the rights to an English-language version of the TV2 series “Day,” where Atle Antonsen stars as a frustrated relationship therapist.
“The project of “Lange flate ballær” is under development, said Zwart in an e-mail to VG.
“ABC fell in love with the “lange-flate” films and their universe. Although the films are so-called “local,” they are very engaging globally. Everyone recognizes it, and the idea is to create a TV series about a small garage outside of Boston or a similar place, where guys who are struggling with their own things, and have an American sport as something in common. It can be something ala “Taxi” or “Cheers,” continues Zwart.
“Lange flate ballær,” which first appeared on Norway’s big screen in 2006, was a very popular movie phenomenon which also received the the “People’s Film Prize” in the same year.
The comedy focuses on six men who work in a garage and have a common passion: soccer. When they fear that they will lose their jobs, they use all of their remaining money to go see a soccer game in Germany. Harald Zwart was the film’s producer, and was himself a director for the sequel which came two years later. The second film did not quite reach the same heights as the first, but the characters were once again loved by the people.
“Now it is ABC that is the responsible and driving force for what will happen with the characters in the United States. ABC is a company that buys a lot of rights. I think we must be patient,” says Espen Horn to VG.
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