Italian I Wonder Pictures stepped into the Finnish comedy “The Player” as co-producer before it was featured in the industry sidebar at Haugesund New Nordic Films.
The company will also handle local distribution. The project is directed by Teemu Nikki and produced by It’s Alive Films’ Jani Pösö.
“I consider Timo Nikki to be one of the best European directors. He’s brilliant, prolific and always surprising,” said Andrea Romeo, I Wonder Pictures’ General Manager and Head of Acquisitions. diverse.
I think that his cinema will be more and more appreciated in the world, as well as in Italy. His films always talk about important issues, maintaining a perfect balance between black comedy and author cinema. It’s also a pleasure to work with a producer like Janie and a reputable company like It’s Alive Films.”
The Finnish duo had just been nominated for a Scandinavian Film Council Award for their previous movie The Blind Man Who Didn’t Want to See Titanic, which also took home an award in Venice.
Their 2017 release, ‘Euthanizer’, has been chosen to be an Academy Award winner in Finland, while children’s movie ‘Snot & Splash’ is already in the making, promising to offer another dark twist, as the film’s protagonists have to take a break from their vacation and save the world from drifting. in a black hole.
In “The Player,” about “the cheapest drivers in business,” gambling meets an unexpected friendship as two men – “Tom of Finland,” Pekka Strang and Gary Ferman – find themselves in a difficult situation.
“Probably the best movie we’ve made so far,” said Jani Bosso, referring to its entertaining style and Nikki’s signature “entertaining approach to serious, deadly themes.”
“The main character, played by Becca, is a gambling addict. He has a brain but no heart, and his only friend discovers that his brain is only working at 15%. It’s based on a true story that Teemu read about: the guy was living a normal life, had a headache, and went to the doctor and that’s what they found out. We call him 85% a man without a mind.”
The film will talk about gambling, or addiction in general, from the perspective of Strang’s character.
“I wanted to do a comedy about an addict. About a guy, Risto, who lies and steals and uses everyone around him and the only friend is a mindless guy, Arto. And of course, I wanted to surround them with death, so I made them hear the drivers,” adds Nikki, who also wrote the story.
“Ristow ruined his own life and Arto lost his family, job and home because he suddenly became a joke. Every morning they wait for someone to die to get the money so that Risto can gamble.”
Then they came across an underground casino, where Russian roulette is played. Their new job is to take care of the players’ bodies.
“The movie will be, once again, a dark, dark comedy where you’ll laugh and cry,” he says.
“I could even call it a very dark comedy. With some elements of action and action. These guys, they end up gambling with their own lives!” Pösö noted, adding that the project was “different but the same” for the company.
“You could say we tend to have abnormal projects and normal projects, and this project is pretty normal. But again, we’re trying to find new ways to tell a story.”
“We know how serious Pekka and Jari are when it comes to work. They really want to develop their characters, so Teemu brought them in really early. Normally, you don’t have time to rehearse – we’re not in Hollywood. Although they probably don’t have time either.”
But there is a bittersweet side to the new project. Their longtime collaborator Jerky Arnicari, cinematographer, passed away in the summer, and “The Player” was his last tribute.
“He was kind of a friend and mentor to us. It’s sad but I’m glad we did this together,” Bosu admitted. While the team has already filmed a demo, principal photography will begin in October, with the premiere set for 2023.
“We hope this will be the first co-production with I Wonder Pictures,” Bosso said.
“It’s a new chapter for us and our way of making films. And it feels good.”