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.