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Double dose of Beowulf set to run rings round rivals

Category: Beowulf & Grendel News
Article Date: February 18, 2005 | Publication: Sydney Morning Herald | Author: Richard Jinman
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He is the original action hero, a fearless Norse warrior who slew a vicious troll and helped inspire Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. And he is coming to a cinema near you.

The race to turn Beowulf, the hero of the first great poem written in English, into a box-office star to rival the likes of Aragorn, Achilles and Alexander the Great, has begun. Two films starring the fictional sixth-century sword-slinger are in production.

Beowulf & Grendel, directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, is a $US12 million ($15 million) co-production from Britain, Canada and Iceland, starring the Scots actor Gerard Butler. Filmed in Iceland, it is described by its producers as a "spiritual film".

Butler's Beowulf is a complex man who grows to understand and even sympathise with the troll Grendel.

The second film, Beowulf, is a $US70 million Hollywood production financed by the American millionaire Steve Bing and Sony Pictures. Its director is Robert Zemeckis, whose crew will use the stop-motion technology recently employed in the children's film The Polar Express.

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AdvertisementBeowulf is no children's film, however. The script, co-written by Roger Avary, Quentin Tarantino's collaborator on Pulp Fiction, has been described as "a sort of dark-ages Trainspotting, filled with mead and blood and madness".

Beowulf & Grendel is to be released this year; Zemeckis's film is in pre-production.

Adam Minns, the British film editor of Screen International, said filming Beowulf was symptomatic of the industry's interest in "epic-scale, fantasy-type".

"Beowulf was one of the key inspirations for Lord of the Rings and I'm not at all surprised the success of that franchise has galvanised these two projects."

 


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