With The Snow­man, di­rec­tor To­mas Al­fred­son seeks to launch a stylish new crime fran­chise


singing a few bars of Walk­ing In The Air on The Snow­man’s Oslo set. This croaky nos­tal­gia has been sparked by Em­pire’s men­tion of Ray­mond Briggs’ ’80s an­i­ma­tion which shares a name, but ab­so­lutely noth­ing else, with his new thriller. There’ll be snow­men, but they’ll be left by a se­rial killer at mur­der scenes. Fass­ben­der’s cop, Harry Hole, must solve the case be­fore the leads, well, melt.

Orig­i­nally a Martin Scors­ese project set in Detroit and Chicago, The Snow­man was en­trusted to Let The Right One In’s To­mas Al­fred­son af­ter Scors­ese passed in 2013. Bring­ing Hole, au­thor Jo Nesbø’s pin-sharp but trou­bled de­tec­tive, back to Nor­way has opened plenty of doors to the pro­duc­tion. It’s Fe­bru­ary and the shoot has moved from the ice-capped cliffs of Tele­mark to Oslo’s wa­ter­front. Tonight they’re at the im­pos­ing red-brick City Hall, one of those open doors. “We’re not The Revenant yet,” jokes pro­ducer Robyn Slovo, as black Mercedes sweep through the slush and dis­charge VIPS for a bash hosted by J.K. Sim­mons’ me­dia mogul, Arve Støp.

It’s in this Gotham-y world that Fass­ben­der’s rum­pled ’tec teams with tal­ented young cop Ka­trine Bratt (Re­becca Fer­gu­son). The po­lit­i­cal pres­sure to find the killer is high; Hole is vul­ner­a­ble, de­struc­tible even. “These char­ac­ters of­ten seem al­most bul­let­proof,” Fass­ben­der notes, “but he comes out bot­tom in a lot of tus­sles. He’s got a lot of flaws. He’s enig­matic.”

The di­rec­tor and his star al­most worked to­gether on Tin­ker Tai­lor Sol­dier Spy, and they’ve hit it off se­cond time around. “I watch him as closely as I can; he’s an orig­i­nal, an artist,” says Fass­ben­der of Al­fred­son. On set, cast and crew queue up to ex­tol their di­rec­tor’s eye for snappy vi­su­als. “There’s noth­ing mun­dane about any­thing To­mas does,” says Slovo. “He thinks vis­ually.”

Nesbø’s 11 Harry Hole books have sold 30 mil­lion copies worldwide, a fan­base the film­mak­ers hope will fuel an en­tire fran­chise. As snow­men go, that’s a pretty big carrot.

Clock­wise from

above: Michael Fass­ben­der as Jo Nesbø’s 30 mil­lion-sell­ing de­tec­tive Harry Hole; With po­lice part­ner Ka­trine Bratt (Re­becca Fer­gu­son); Brac­ing the Nor­we­gian el­e­ments; Bratt faces flashy me­dia mogul Arve Støp (J.K. Sim­mons).

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