The man behind Max Manus has passed away

Thomas Nordseth-Tiller. Photo: Nils H. Toldnes /

Screenwriter Thomas Nordseth-Tiller, who wrote the movie Max Manus – Norway’s biggest cinema success since 1975 – has died. He was only 28.

By Berit Hessen

Nordseth-Tiller developed the idea of creating the historic epic about the freedom fighting war-hero Max Manus, when he studied in California. He worked on the manuscript for many years. 

The talented writer received the pitch award at Kosmorama International Film Festival in 2006. The award included a money prize of 100 000 kroner. Sitting in the jury was none other than Liv Ullmann and author Erlend Loe. They both praised the young man from Lørenskog, who had film education from both the U.S. and Australia.

In the bar after the ceremony Thomas sold the idea to the movie to producer John M. Jacobsen, of Filmkameratene.

Thomas closely followed the development of Max Manus from a few lines on a piece of paper, to a multi-million production, starring actors such as Aksel Hennie and Nicolai Cleve Broch.

In 2009, Nordseth-Tiller won the title “Best Film Screenplay” at the same festival in Trondheim. He was not able to attend. He had just been diagnosed with cancer two months earlier. He died yesterday (May 12) after a short battle with the disease. Thomas died the same day Max Manus opened Norwegian Film Days in Stockholm.

Jacobsen expressed that Thomas’ death is a tremendous loss for both his family and the Norwegian Film Industry. Before his death Thomas was working on another WWII story, about Communist leader Asbjørn Sunde and the Osvald Gang, based on the book, Men in Darkness.


Max Manus has so far reached 1.2m admissions on its domestic run. View Trailer:

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