FOR­TI­TUDE

An in­ter­na­tional cast, in­clud­ing Den­nis Quaid and The Killing’s Sofie Grabol, face a chill­ing Arc­tic threat in the sec­ond se­ries of this am­bi­tious, big-bud­get thriller…

Crime Scene - - CONTENTS - Cre­ated by: SI­MON DON­ALD Star­ring: SOFIE GRABOL, DEN­NIS QUAID, PARMINDER NAGRA, SI­ENNA GUILLORY, KEN STOT , LUKE TREADAWAY (SKY AT LAN­TIC) 2017 By An­dre Paine

A first look at Se­ries 2 of the chilly Arc­tic drama fea­tur­ing Sofie Grabol from The Killing.

When the creepy Arc­tic thriller For­ti­tude launched in 2015, it was re­port­edly one of the most ex­pen­sive British dra­mas ever, cost­ing a re­puted £25 mil­lion. Fea­tur­ing Christo­pher Ec­cle­ston, Sofie Grabol, Stan­ley Tucci and Michael Gam­bon amid epic frozen land­scapes, it seemed like money well spent. The only prob­lem was that, when it came to film­ing in the Ice­landic town of Rey­dar­fjor­dur, which dou­bles as Nor­way, the pro­duc­tion had to buy in fake snow. But not for Se­ries 2…

“The weather was much more help­ful,” cre­ator, writer and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Si­mon Don­ald says. “But they got stormed off on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions. For the open­ing se­quence, the en­camp­ment got blown away in the mid­dle of the night and they had to re­build it. It was fiercely cold when they were shoot­ing that – we got a lot of snow this year.”

The sec­ond run begins 60 miles north of For­ti­tude, which is the fic­tional ver­sion of the real-life Nor­we­gian ar­chi­pel­ago of Sval­bard. A sin­is­ter pro­logue, set in 1942, sees Rus­sian sol­diers charg­ing into a camp of Sami trav­ellers and their rein­deer, on the track of a blood­thirsty mur­derer. But even af­ter he’s gunned down in the snow, the fiendish flesh-eater proves im­pos­si­ble to kill.

“The ex­pla­na­tion for that isn’t su­per­nat­u­ral,” says Don­ald. “As a prin­ci­ple, I don’t do that. But I love those var­i­ous genre spa­ces, where you can give the au­di­ence the op­tion of think­ing it’s su­per­nat­u­ral for a length of time. Lots of my favourite films and telly shows do that – even David Lynch does it, to an ex­tent.”

Twin Peaks is an ob­vi­ous com­par­i­son, as the Arc­tic hide­away fea­tures a cu­ri­ous col­lec­tion of char­ac­ters, a twisty plot and dark se­crets. And then there’s the sky­born phe­nom­e­non of the ‘blood aurora’, which may be a har­bin­ger of bad things to come.

“For­ti­tude is sort of at the edge of civil­i­sa­tion and of res­cue,” Don­ald says. “It’s his­tory is hid­den un­der ice. An­cient cul­tures have myths that have ex­plained things like the blood aurora, a me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal oc­cur­rence at the open­ing of the sea­son.”

Back in present-day For­ti­tude, a head­less body in the snow may be the grue­some work of this same mon­ster. It’s al­ready a dan­ger­ous place: the po­lar bears out­num­ber hu­mans by four to one, and ev­ery­one car­ries a ri­fle for their own pro­tec­tion.

“In re­al­ity, the po­lice aren’t in­ves­ti­gat­ing bru­tal mur­ders very of­ten,” Don­ald says, of the real-life Sval­bard is­lands. “They tend to be in­ves­ti­gat­ing wildlife crime and vi­o­la­tions of ter­ri­to­rial reg­u­la­tions, so we give them a bit more to do.”

Bear­ing the brunt of this ef­fort is Gover­nor Hil­dur Ode­gard (Sofie Grabol), whose hus­band, po­lice officer Eric Ode­gard (Bjorn Hlynur Har­alds­son), is off on an Arc­tic mis­sion to try and find miss­ing sher­iff Dan An­der­ssen (Richard Dormer). There’s also pres­sure from a Nor­we­gian of­fi­cial (played by Ken Stott), who is wary of the costs of main­tain­ing the set­tle­ment.

“She can tell they’re try­ing to shut this place down, and she’s fight­ing to re­sist this,” says Don­ald. “The sparkling op­por­tu­nity of Arc­tic tourism that she was fly­ing with in Sea­son 1 has been sort of shot down by events.”

Don­ald is full of praise for Grabol, though he ad­mits that her high stan­dards can be ex­act­ing.

“In the first sea­son she gave me quite a hard time,” he says. “The very first time I went in to meet her, she was charm­ing but it was kind of chilly. She was just ask­ing me lots of re­ally dif­fi­cult ques­tions about the lim­its of her au­thor­ity as a gover­nor. She is for­mi­da­ble, and if you gave her a scene where she didn’t be­lieve what you were ask­ing her char­ac­ter to say, she was right on it. More than any­body, she kept me on my toes in the first sea­son.”

Den­nis Quaid ( In­ner Space), who brings some Hol­ly­wood heft to Se­ries 2 of For­ti­tude, plays a fish­er­man strug­gling to make a liv­ing. And ap­par­ently the ac­tor en­joyed his Arc­tic ex­pe­ri­ence.

“He wants to come back and do the next sea­son, if I let him live to the end,” says Don­ald, who’s al­ready work­ing on Se­ries 3. “I think there’s enough mad­ness gen­er­ated by the end of Sea­son 2 that it’s fair to say that the world gets more psy­cho­log­i­cally in­tense in Sea­son 3. We al­ways have a de­sire to find the horror in what’s avail­able in the land­scape, and that’s com­ing back into it in a pretty shock­ing way.”

“FOR­TI­TUDE IS AT THE EDGE OF CIVIL­I­SA­TION AND OF RES­CUE. IT’S HIS­TORY IS HID­DEN UN­DER ICE…”

The Arc­tic’s wide-open spa­ces only pro­vide half the chills in Si­mon Don­ald’s tightly-plot­ted cre­ation.

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