The dramatic story of Danish photographer Daniel Rye held captive by the Islamic State terrorist organisation for over a year is now being turned into a major feature film. Toolbox Film is adapting Puk Damsgård’s highly acclaimed bestseller Ser du månen, Daniel, which is the first feature film to depict a hostage taking by Islamic State – and a family’s struggle to bring their son back home alive. Film i Väst is co-producing and the film will partially be shot at Film i Väst’s Region Västra Götaland, Sweden.
SER DU MÅNEN, DANIEL is an intense, emotional, hostage-family drama. With a budget of USD 6.5 million, the film will be shot over a ten-week period between 1 October 2018 and 31 January 2019 in Trollhättan (Sweden), Aarhus (Denmark), Jordan and Canada. The film is scheduled to premiere in Denmark on 19 September 2019.
Niels Arden Oplev, the man behind such critically acclaimed films as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, We Shall Overcome, Speed Walking and numerous films and TV series in the USA, is now returning to his native Denmark to direct SER DU MÅNEN, DANIEL. Anders Thomas Jensen, who wrote Susanne Bier’s Oscar-winning In a Better World and wrote and directed such films as Flickering Lights, Adam’s Apples and most recently Men and Chicken, has penned the screenplay for SER DU MÅNEN, DANIEL.
When Puk Damsgård’s book ‘Ser du månen, Daniel’ – based on Daniel Rye’s hostage experience in Syria – was published in autumn 2015, it became an instant hit with reviewers and readers alike, selling more than 100,000 copies. A few months later, Puk Damsgård was awarded Denmark’s most distinguished journalist prize – The Cavling Prize – partly in recognition of the book, which has since been published in the UK, Japan, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Hungary, Poland and Portugal. Daniel Rye gives talks on his experiences as an Islamic State hostage, and to date, 70,000 people have shared Daniel’s chilling story.
Several Danish production companies expressed serious interest in securing the book’s film rights and Puk Damsgård is indeed delighted that the film is now going ahead:
– It’s fantastic that the story is now being brought to life – in a new and different way – on the big screen. I’ve followed the process from the sidelines and can hardly wait to see the end result. When I wrote the book, I was often struck by the thought that the story of Daniel and his family would make a powerful film – quite simply because reality surpasses fiction.
For the story’s main character, Daniel Rye, the film documenting his experiences in Syria will be an emotional experience.
– I have a really good feeling that the production team will treat the story with the respect and humility it deserves. While the book, ‘Ser du månen, Daniel’ has already reached a wide audience, the film can take it even further. The story provides a unique insight into the terrifying reality faced by the Syrian people on a daily basis – simply witnessed through the eyes of a Dane – someone we can more readily identify with.
Niels Arden Oplev is looking forward tremendously to filming ‘Ser du månen, Daniel’ – a project he has worked on for several years.
– The task is simple: to create a work that comes as close as possible to the real intense events and challenges which Daniel Rye and those affected by his kidnapping experienced. It is a story with great emotional depth, punctuated by moments of extreme sorrow and joy. A story focusing on life and death itself, survival and healing the soul. A story that comes very close to reality. Anders Thomas Jensen has written a screenplay populated by vivid characters that leap off the page, drawing us into a daily drama that drives the story forward and seduces us in the best thriller style. It is with the greatest desire and humility as a storyteller – and with the greatest respect for this unique material – that I and the production team now begin the task of bringing ‘SER DU MÅNEN, DANIEL’ to the cinema screen.