Renny Harlin plans to shoot comedy film in Finland under Covid-19 safety protocols
Shooting to begin in Finland later this month
Finnish film director and producer Renny Harlin is returning to his roots for a comedy feature. It's shooting will begin in Finland later this month under strict Covid-19 safety protocols.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 61-year-old former Hollywood director, has spent the past half-decade developing and shooting films in China, having relocated from southern California to take part in Beijing's booming movie business. However, as the Covid-19 pandemic made work in China untenable in the first half of 2020, Harlin returned to his native Finland and signed on to direct Class Reunion 3, the next instalment in a hit Scandinavian comedy series.
The director, best known in the U.S. for his 1990s action hits Die Hard 2'and Cliffhanger, said, "I've been living in Hollywood and Beijing for the last 35 years, making 22 movies. I felt that this summer was the perfect time to return to my roots and make a beautiful, no holds barred madcap comedy, with a bunch of old friends."
The Finnish version of the Class Reunion franchise is based on the hit Danish movie series Klassefesten from Nordisk Film. The first two Finnish remakes were big domestic hits, selling over 800,000 tickets (Finland's population is just 5.5 million). The films, both Danish and Finnish, follow a trio of down-on-their-luck middle-aged friends who are brought back together by class reunions and other late-life occasions.
A big part of the franchise's success in Finland has stemmed from the trio of household names who play the three friends: popular radio host Jaajo Linnonmaa, drama and comedy star Aku Hirviniemi, and standup comedian Sami Hedberg.
Class Reunion 3 is expected to be the first feature-length project to go into production in Finland as the coronavirus infection rates taper off in the country. The production is instituting a raft of new safety measures to keep cast and crew safe. It also includes a full-time on-set health professional to monitor guidelines around safe social distancing and various hygiene procedures.
Harlin said that he has plans to utilize VFX to create more physical distance between cast and extras in various group scenes.
He explained, "Just very recently we switched to in-person production meetings and scouting and casting. We use masks and keep safe distances. It's all a matter of adjusting to the situation and making the best out of a challenging environment. I look forward to an exciting summer shoot in the beautiful, clean and safe environment of my homeland."
The Finnish filmmaker's most recent films include the Jackie Chan comedy 2016 film Skiptrace and the Hong Kong-Chinese action thriller Bodies at Rest (2019). Harlin says he plans to return to Beijing later this year to continue his career in China.