Studio: Arclight Films/ Beowulf Productions/ Union Station Media
Cast: Bryjar Ágústsson as Geat, Steindór Andersen as Snorri, Helgi Björnsson as First man, Gerard Butler as Beowulf, Benedikt Clausen as Feral Child, Tony Curran as Hondscioh, Martin Delaney as Thorfinn, Matt John Evans as Beowulf Man One, Gunnar Eyjólfsson as Aeschere, Gísli Örn Garðarsson as Erik, Daði Freyr Guðjónsson as Dead womans child, Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson as Guard, Jon Einarsson Gustafsson as Beowulf’s Partner 2, Arnór Hákonarson as Rock throwing kid 1, Gunnar Hansson as Grimur, Helgi Marteinn Ingason as Geat, Hringur Ingvarsson as Grendel’s child, Mark Lewis as King Hygelac, Eddie Marsan as Brendan, Rory McCann as Breca, Elva Ósk Ólafsdóttir as Sea-Hag, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Unferth, Sarah Polley as Selma, Tómas Axel Ragnarsson as Geat, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson as Grendel, Stellan Skarsgård as King Hrothgar, Bárður Smárason as Geat, Ronan Vibert as Thorkel, Philip Whitchurch as Fisherman, Spencer Wilding as Grendel’s Father and Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir as Queen Wealhtheow
Crew: Sturla Gunnarsson (director, producer);
Andrew Rai Berzins (screenwriter); Anonymous (original epic poem Beowulf); Michael Cowan, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, Eric Jordan, Jason Piette, Anna María Karlsdóttir, Paul Stephens (producers); Andrew Rai Berzins (co-producer); Mark Winemaker (line producer); Douglas Hansen (associate producer); James Simpson, Peter James, James D. Stern, Alex Marshall (executive producers)
It is an ancient blood-soaked tale of heroes and monsters that speaks to our deepest, most primal emotions. A legend where vengeance, loyalty and mercy powerfully entwine. It is the saga of Beowulf & Grendel.
Set against the dramatic background of a wind-whipped, ocean-battered Icelandic landscape, the film tells the bloody tale of the warrior Beowulf’s battle with Grendel, a great and murderous troll.
The seminal 9th-Century Anglo Saxon poem, Beowulf, has been thoroughly updated by screenwriter Andrew Rai Berzins, using contemporary English, inflected with a wry sense of humor. Beowulf & Grendel nonetheless retains the full heraldic glory and mythical epic qualities that have inspired so many readers.
In this telling, the battle-scarred Norse hero Beowulf (Gerard Butler) leads a troop of warriors across the sea to help an old friend, King Hrothgar (Stellan Skarsgård), whose kingdom is being ravaged by the marauding troll, Grendel (Ingvar Sigurdsson).
However, Beowulf’s attempts to fight the troll are thwarted when Grendel refuses to engage him in battle. Despite his seemingly savage nature, the troll is adhering to a strict code of retribution: his quarrel is not with Beowulf but with the Hrothgar. When Beowulf meets Selma (Sarah Polley), a mysterious and sensual witch, his understanding of revenge is further complicated and he begins to waver in his commitment to kill on behalf of king Hrothgar.
Beowulf & Grendel is a medieval adventure, part legendary fable, part horror-story. Based on the seminal 9th century Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf, it tells the blood-soaked tale of a Norse warrior’s battle against a great and murderous troll, Grendel, who has laid seige to the kingdom of Hrothgar, the much respected king of the Danes.
Out of allegiance to Hrothgar, Beowulf leads a troop of warriors across the sea to rid a village of the marauding monster. The monster, Grendel, is not a creature of mythic powers, but one of flesh and blood – immense flesh and raging blood, driven by a vengeance from being wronged. Beowulf’s willingness to kill on behalf of Hrothgar wavers when it becomes clear that the King is more responsible for the troll’s rampages than was first apparent. And Beowulf’s relationship with a provocative witch, Selma, creates further confusion. Swinging his sword at a stinking beast is no longer such a simple act.
The story – filmed in Iceland – plays out in a brutish Northern Europe where the reign of the many-gods is giving way to one – the southern invader, Christ. Beowulf is a man caught between sides in this great shift, his simple code transforming and falling apart before his eyes.
Building toward an inevitable and terrible battle – with many heads rolling along the way – Beowulf & Grendel is a tale where vengeance, loyalty and mercy powerfully entwine. A story of blood and beer and sweat, of sick jokes and fear of the dark, Beowulf & Grendel strips away the mask of the hero-myth, leaving a raw and tangled tale.
Production Company: Endgame Entertainment/ Spice Factory/ The Film Works
Heads Will Roll
Beneath The Legend Lies The Tale
Release Dates: (Seattle) June 16, 2006/ (San Francisco) June 30/ (New York) July 7/ (Chicago) July 14/ (LA) July 28/ (Boston) August 11
Genre: ADVENTURE/ ACTION
Paired with the inimitable Skarsgård as the ailing and deceitful king, Butler powerfully portrays the conflicted Beowulf as he endures the slow erosion of his military code of conduct. More than a straightforward story of blood, mead and sweat, Beowulf & Grendel powerfully entwines themes of vengeance, loyalty and mercy. The film strips away the mask of the hero myth, leaving a raw and tangled tale that rings true today.
Scottish born actor Gerard Butler recently starred as the title character in Phantom of the Opera and as the enigmatic stranger in Dear Frankie. His numerous credits include Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, starring opposite Angeline Jolie, Michael Crichton’s Timeline and Wes Craven’s Dracula 2000. He recently completed filming 300, based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, in which Butler stars as King Leonidas who led the Spartan army against the advancing Persians in the Battle of Thermopylae, and is currently starring with Pierce Brosnan in Butterfly on a Wheel.
Swedish film star Stellan Skarsgård has appeared in innumerable films directed by masters of world cinema including Lars Von Trier, Roman Polanski, Phillip Kaufman, Gus Van Sant and Steven Spielberg.
Sarah Polley began acting at the age of four. As a child, she appeared in Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Her breakthrough to adult roles was her portrayal of Nicole in Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter. Following her starring role in the film Guinevere (1999) the entertainment media crowned her the "It Girl" of 1999. Polley has appeared in numerous independent films such as Michael Winterbottom’s The Claim, Kathryn Bigelow’s The Weight of Water, David Cronenberg’s Existenz, and Isabel Coixet’s My Life Without Me. Later, she completed The I Inside and Dawn of The Dead. Most recently she filmed Wim Wenders Don’t Come Knocking, which premiered at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and Isabel Coixet’s The Secret Life of Words.
Icelandic born, Canadian raised director Sturla Gunnarsson’s films have received international acclaim and won Genie, Gemini and Emmy Awards, and an Oscar nomination. Feature films include the comedy, Rare Birds, starring William Hurt and Molly Parker, and the adaptation of Rohinton Mistry’s Booker nominated novel, Such A Long Journey, starring Roshan Seth and Om Puri. His documentaries include the cinema verite classic, Final Offer and the post-apartheid love story, Gerrie & Louise.
Beowulf & Grendel is a Canada-Iceland-UK co-production. The film runs 104 minutes and is rated R.