Madonna Video Director to Helm Norwegian Black-Metal Movie

Jonas Åkerlund will direct 'Lords of Chaos,' though Mayhem bassist says, "Tell the Swedes and the Hollywood people to go fuck themselves"

Filmmaker Jonas Akerlund will direct 'Lords of Chaos,' a movie chronicling the band Mayhem and the early Norwegian black-metal scene. Euronymous' murderer, Varg Vikernes, is pictured. Credit: AFP

Filmmaker Jonas Åkerlund – whose credits include Spun, Horseman and music videos for Madonna, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Metallica – has signed on to direct Lords of Chaos, a film that will chronicle the wave of violence and church burnings that swept Norway in the early Nineties as the country's black-metal bands got their footing. The film will star Rory Culkin (Scream 4, Signs) and Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class), according to Variety.

Based on the 1998 book Lords of Chaos, the film tells the story of Euronymous, who co-founded the satanic-themed band Mayhem as a teenager in Oslo in the mid-Eighties. During the lifespan of the group, one of its singers – nicknamed Dead – killed himself and the group's bassist, Varg Vikernes, burned down a church and later stabbed Euronymous to death at the age of 25. The 1993 murder shocked Norway, which subsequently suffered a wave of an estimated 50 church burnings for the next four years and landed Vikernes in jail for 15 years.

Reached for comment, Mayhem bassist Necrobutcher – who co-founded the group with Euronymous – expressed his displeasure with the film. "This book Lords of Chaos is fucking crap and that some stupid Swedes are gonna make a movie out of it is not OK," he tells Rolling Stone. "I will do everything I can to stop this film.... Tell the Swedes and the Hollywood people to go fuck themselves."

The bassist also told Rolling Stone that a Norwegian company called Motion Blur has the rights to his story and that he has been spending time collaborating on a script for the film.

Empire reports that Åkerlund co-wrote the picture with the book's authors, Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind, while Variety names Dennis Magnusson as a co-writer. Filming will begin in Norway in the fall. Ridley Scott's company Scott Free is co-producing the film.

Despite his pop music connections, Åkerlund has a notable metal pedigree. In 1984, he played drums with the seminal Swedish black-metal band Bathory on two songs – "Sacrifice" and "The Return of Darkness and Evil" – that appeared on the rare compilation, Scandinavian Metal Attack. He later played in a group called Die Cast. He's since won several Grammys, an Icon Award and MTV VMAs for his music videos.

Jackson Rathbone – best known for playing Jasper Hale in the Twilight series of films – was attached to play Vikernes when the film was announced in 2009, though it is unclear if he's still a part of the production.