Producer's Statement: Jeremy Thomas
I started developing the movie in 1996 at the suggestion of my friend Michael Douglas. Michael
urged me to get in touch with the Norwegian industrialist and publisher Johan Stenersen, who
owned the rights to all the materials relating to Heyerdahl's quest. Myself and Stenersen
travelled to Thor's home in Tenerife to meet the adventurer. A film-maker himself, who had
won an Oscar in 1951 with his documentary on the Kon-Tiki voyage, Thor had previously
refused to allow anyone make a film about his exploits. I built a relationship with Thor and his
wife Jacqueline, who was keen that I made the film. After three visits I finally managed to
persuade him to give me the rights.
There were many false starts, but at the suggestion of Johan, I met writer Petter Skavlan, and
later the directors Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg, who honed their skills on
spectacular, award-winning ad campaigns for Coca-Cola, Nokia, Nintendo, Airbus and
Budweiser. Their epic MAX MANUS was the highest-grossing Norwegian film ever, shattering
box office records by selling 1.2 million tickets, meaning a quarter of the country's population
saw it at the cinema. I was attracted to the directors' inventive and confident filmmaking style,
and the scope of their ambitious visuals.
When I met Joachim and Espen, I discovered that they shared my passion for bringing Thor
Heyerdahl's important journey to the screen. They made an epic film for a realistic price, and I
was able to do justice to Thor's magnificent adventure, as I promised him before he died.
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