Director Tomas Alfredson reveals what went wrong with The Snowman

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
Director Tomas Alfredson arrives at the premiere of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The director of the critically-panned ‘The Snowman’ says he didn’t manage to shoot everything he wanted on his adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s crime thriller, suggesting around 10-15% of the script remained unfilmed. The missing scenes left big gaps in the story, which in turn caused them major headaches in the edit suite.

“Our shoot time in Norway was way too short, we didn’t get the whole story with us and when we started cutting we discovered that a lot was missing,” Tomas Alfredson explained to NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation).

“It’s like when you’re making a big jigsaw puzzle and a few pieces are missing so you don’t see the whole picture.”

He also suggests that the film was rushed into production after receiving funding saying, “It happened very abruptly, suddenly we got notice that we had the money and could start the shoot in London.”

Michael Fassbender plays Harry Hole on the hunt for a serial killer in ‘The Snowman’ (Universal)

The director had received near-universal acclaim for his previous two movies ‘Let The Right One In’ and ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’, so when he took over the picture from Martin Scorsese (who remained on board as exec producer) expectations were sky high. However, something seems to have gone amiss.

‘The Snowman’ was released last Friday amidst a flurry of negative reviews (it currently stands at lowly 21% on Rotten Tomatoes), taking third place at the UK box office behind ‘The LEGO Ninjago Movie’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049’ with a solid but disappointing £1.38m.

Variety film critic Guy Lodge suggested the film bore the hallmarks of a troubled shoot in his review saying, “It might take an investigator more intuitive than Hole to pinpoint precisely where and how things unraveled in a production.”

The big budget adaptation boasts a star-studded cast including Michael Fassbender as police detective Harry Hole, as well as Rebecca Ferguson, JK Simmons, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Toby Jones, Val Kilmer, and Chloë Sevigny in a bizarre dual role, but critics weren’t kind.

The Times’ Kavin Maher said “It’s confused. It’s clichéd. It’s dated, dubious and unintentionally silly,” while Stephen Dalton at The Hollywood Reporter called it “a largely pedestrian affair, turgid and humourless in tone.”

The film also had a hard time from Norwegian critics too for its unrealistic geography, with many pointing out that Harry is shown driving on the wrong road when he travels from Oslo to Rjukan.

Alfredson dismissed those complaints adding, “it’s not a documentary about the geography of Norway, I wanted to make a fictive thriller. So even if not everything is geographically correct, I don’t give a s***.”

‘The Snowman’ is in cinemas now.

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