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Berlin: Hallstrom Returns to Sweden to Direct Crime Thriller The Hypnotist

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 9, 2011 at 9:06AM

Many foreign directors dream of making it in Hollywood, and after breaking out with My Life as a Dog Sweden's Lasse Hallstrom certainly did, directing What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Something to Talk About, The Cider House Rules, Chocolat, An Unfinished Life, Casanova, The Hoax and Dear John. But his last, Hachi, went straight to video in the U.S. and did middling business overseas; the market is unforgiving now for his stock-in-trade, heart-warming dramas. Thus Hallström is returning to make his first feature in Sweden in 24 years.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Many foreign directors dream of making it in Hollywood, and after breaking out with My Life as a Dog Sweden's Lasse Hallstrom certainly did, directing What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Something to Talk About, The Cider House Rules, Chocolat, An Unfinished Life, Casanova, The Hoax and Dear John. But his last, Hachi, went straight to video in the U.S. and did middling business overseas; the market is unforgiving now for his stock-in-trade, heart-warming dramas. Thus Hallström is returning to make his first feature in Sweden in 24 years.

The Hypnotist, based on yet another bestselling Swedish crime novel, will start principal photography this coming winter for release in fall 2012; pseudonymous writer Lars Kepler (actually the duo Alexandra and Alexander Ahndoril) plan to continue a series featuring Detective Inspector Joona Linna.

The story starts with the murder of a man in a Stockholm suburb, followed by the killing of his wife and a daughter at their home. One injured son survives; when Linna realizes there is another daughter the clock starts ticking. When she persuades a reluctant doctor to hypnotize the son, things swiftly spiral out of control.

The Hypnotist is produced by AB Svensk Filmindustri and Sonet Film AB, producers Börje Hansson, Peter Possne and Bertil Ohlsson. Hallström and the producers will attend the Berlin International Film Festival, where the film is being sold internationally. Hallström recently directed the UK's Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which is in post-production, starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas. It is set for December release overseas; it seeks a U.S. distributor.

This article is related to: Festivals, Genres, Thriller, Books


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.