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First Contact
The latest forensic evidence suggests that centuries before Columbus was born, Viking warships from Northern Europe landed on American shores, and the infamously fierce Norse explorers roamed what is now modern-day Boston and New York City. It's a stunning vision to imagine: Vikings attempting to settle on the lands that Native Americans had already called home for some 25,000 years.

Known for their brutal, plundering raids, and already embattled in Europe, the Vikings were likely seeking fertile new lands to conquer when they set out into the New World for the first time. Yet in America they would meet their demise. No one knows for sure what became of the Vikings who attempted to settle here, but instead of thriving, they disappeared and their civilization soon teetered to collapse. Viking sagas speak of violent battles with the people who lived in America – yet what really happened when these two warrior cultures met remains forever shrouded in mystery.

It is this unexplored story that comes to the fore in PATHFINDER – an action-adventure story that re-imagines the explosive first contact between the Vikings and the East Coast's native Wampanoag Indians through a stylish tale of personal revenge and redemption.

"I always felt that the idea of Vikings and American Indians together in the same world, and the epic clash of cultures that might have occurred between them, would make for a great cinematic story,” says the film's director, Marcus Nispel. "But although I am fascinated by Vikings, I've never really liked historical films. What I do like are hard-driving tales of one man's survival against the odds. So PATHFINDER is not only about Vikings in conflict with Native Americas, but is also a timeless story about a man who has to make a change – from blindly seeking vengeance to really using his head to save his people.”

The tale of PATHFINDER began not only with astounding historical discoveries but with a 1987 Norwegian film – Ofelas (Pathfinder) – which won the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Film and impressed critics with its evocative and dream-like take on the action-adventure genre. Set in Lapland, the film recreated both the gritty brutality and the mythical magic of ancient times with the story of a boy who survives a brutal attack on his peaceful tribe and rises to become a heroic leader. Producers Mike Medavoy and Arnold W. Messer of Phoenix Pictures were impressed enough by the picture to immediately seek out the rights to remake it.

Medavoy and Messer had attempted to develop the project in various incarnations over a period of years but no magic happened until the producing team had lunch with Marcus Nispel, a rising young director who, after winning acclaim for his innovative work in commercials and music videos, made a promising motion picture debut with the hit reimagining of the cult classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Nispel mentioned to Medavoy and Messer his long-percolating idea for a film about Vikings colliding with Native Americans – and that was the spark.

"Marcus was very passionate about doing a movie on the subject of Norsemen coming to North America, and we had the rights to Ofelas – so it quickly became clear that the two were really a perfect fit,” comments Arnold Messer.

Adds executive producer Bradley J. Fischer: "We had been talking about a lot of different ideas on how to re-conceive the original film and what new ideas we could bring to it as a remake – yet it always ended up moving away from what we loved about it. Then Marcus came along and he knew exactly how to update PATHFINDER. He said ‘You take the existing story and make it a gritty adventure with Vikings and Indians.' And we were blown away because this was the key that unlocked it.”

For Nispel, the film was a chance to bring together all of his skills – from<

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