Jonas Åkerlund , established music-video director and the director of “Lords of Chaos,” the new movie about the early days of the Norwegian black metal scene based on the 1998 non-fiction book of the same name, commented on Varg Vikernes branding the film “character murder.”
You can read Jonas‘ conversation with Metal Injection below.
Metal Injection: “I’m not sure how true this is, but I heard early on that Necrobutcher was against you having rights to MAYHEM‘s music for the film. And at some point, I know that you definitely wound up getting support from the band, and even had Attila‘s son make an appearance in the movie. What happened internally to make amends and changed their minds?”
Jonas: “It’s not true. They were never against it. So that’s been a rumor from day one. But it was a process for me to not convince them but to describe to them what I was going to do. And especially with Euronymous‘s parents that have the rights to the music. I had to … I couldn’t make this movie without the music. That was never an option for me.
“So early on I was involved with talking to Euronymous‘s parents, Pelle‘s brother, Anders, Necrobutcher, and Hellhammer and all those people that were involved. There’s a lot of credits on all of these songs, there was a lot of people involved writing the music. So, all of them has been on board from day one.
“But there was never a no, there was never they didn’t want to do it, but there was a balance for me to keep them involved and at the same time, kind of making my movie, and kind of making them understand that this is my perspective and this is…
“And it was awkward at times because it’s like I’m making a movie about you, but you can’t be involved, but I want you involved, but not really. It was like a balance, and I think it took a little while to build respect between us. And right now I feel really good about it because the movie is coming out and everybody is very proud of the movie. So that means a lot to me.”
Metal Injection: Speaking of BURZUM naturally, there’s at least one person out there who really hates the film. And as you probably know, Varg has been very outspoken about, you know, how the film is character assassination. What are your feelings on that?
“Well, I mean, it’s very expected, of course. And I’m happy he’s spending so much time on it and talking about it. It’s good for him, but I feel like that’s… It makes me a little sad because that means that he’s thinking a lot about it and I wish that he could watch it and I wish that he could, you know, try to watch it from taking a step aside and watch it. But, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
“And I understand him too. You know, somebody is making a movie out of his life and he’s not involved. I get it. I understand that that’s an awkward situation, and maybe not be the best situation. But he’s also been very outspoken about his perspective of this story, and he told in detail so many times. And he’s done more interviews than anybody else in the scene.
“So I had a lot of material to build from a when I wrote the script. And a lot of it is very close to what he said, you know? And of course he can have an opinion about how the actors look and this is wrong and that is wrong. And that’s fine. I would probably have the same problem if somebody just out of the blue made a movie out of me, you know, so…”
Metal Injection: You did mention that there was some uphill battles and getting the project financed and whatnot. Did that have anything to do with the difficulty of trying to explain to Hollywood producers what black metal is?
“Yes and no. I remember the first meeting I did with this, I went into one of the big agencies in Hollywood with some pictures of Norwegian black metal and corpse makeup and it literally took five minutes before they showed me the door.
“But I think, I mean, obviously, it’s a very dark story. Dark stories are always hard to make, you know, unless it’s a horror movie, and this is obviously not a horror movie. It’s kind of a drama, but then it does have kind of comedic moments and the script kinda builds in a very untraditional way. You know, so it’s hard to compare it to any other movie.
“So all these things just make it hard. You know, anybody who puts up financing, want to know what it is and want to understand it, and preferably have seen it before in something else. And this movie didn’t really have any good references.”