ABBA Co-Founder Benny Andersson Takes “The Circle” Into Full-Speed

Variety

MARRAKECH, Morocco — ABBA co-founder Benny Andersson and his son Ludvig Andersson are taking ”The Circle,” their supernatural youth fantasy film, into full-speed and are set to kick off production on March 31.

Based on Mats Strandberg and Sara B. Elfgren’s best-selling Swedish trilogy “Engelsfors,”"The Circle” is being buzzed about as one of the most ambitious and internationally-driven projects coming out of Scandinavia, the country of honor at Marrakech Film Festival.

The duo are set to produce via their newly-launched outfit, RMV Film, based in Stockholm.

Set in a fictional industrial small town in Sweden, “The Circle” will be directed by “Real Humans” helmer Levan Akin, and centers on six teenage girls from different backgrounds who join forces after discovering they are witches.

“We’re looking to make a supernatural film which is character-driven and has a depth that goes beyond a teenage fantasy,” said Ludvig Andersson, who is a music producer and lead singer of popular Swedish band Atlas. ”In terms of style and substance, we envision the film much closer to ‘Let The Right One In’ than ‘Twilight.’”

The father-and-son pair are considering to collaborate on the score, which will be pop-rock oriented. Benny Andersson would be supervising it, with Ludvig handling some pop songs.

Victoria Svanell, who last worked on Anna Odell’s critically-ailed debut “The Reunion,” is currently casting for the project across four cities.

“We’ve found six amazing girls for the leads, most of whom are still unknown,” said Ludvig Andersson.

Roger Rosenberg, whose credits include Swedish hit “Snabba Cash,” has come on board as production designer.

Benny Andersson, whose illustrious career spans more than 50 years, made his debut as exec producer on the bigscreen adaptation of “Mamma Mia.”

“When I worked on ’Mamma Mia’ I realized how much I enjoyed being involved in the film production process. It’s a somewhat different experience from producing for the theatre, as the set-up for all the creative departments is much more elaborate. The big advantage, as I see it, is that once the film is in the can, your job is done! In the theatre (as a producer) you are only half way once the show has premiered.”

Cecilia Norman Mardell, a former top-level drama producer at Swedish broadcaster SVT, has joined RMV and will be producing the film. Sara B. Elfgren (who also co-penned the novels with Mats Strandberg) is writing the screenplay with Akin.

RMV is now in negotiations with a distributor and sales agent.

“We chose to finance ‘The Circle’ ourselves to maintain full creative freedom but our next step is to find partners in foreign territories,” said Ludvig Andersson, adding they will green-light the franchise’ second opus two weeks after “The Circle” opens — at the condition that it performs well at the B.O.

The production company is now focusing its resources on “The Circle” movie franchise but will eventually open up to other projects, explained Benny Andersson.

Andersson is also involved in the production of big-scale musicals, notably “Kristina From Duvemala,” the musical based on Wilhelm Moberg’s four “Emigrants” put together with fellow ABBA member Bjorn Ulvaeus. It will play Goteborg Opera in the Fall of 2014 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the opera house.

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