Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
|Eurovision Song Contest: |
The Story of Fire Saga
Promotional film poster
|Directed by||David Dobkin|
|Music by||Atli Örvarsson|
|Edited by||Greg Hayden|
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a 2020 American musical comedy film directed by David Dobkin and written by Will Ferrell and Andrew Steele. The film follows Icelandic singers Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdóttir (Ferrell and Rachel McAdams) as they are given the chance to represent their country at the Eurovision Song Contest. Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, and Demi Lovato also star.
The Story of Fire Saga was initially scheduled for a May 2020 release to coincide with the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. However, after the 2020 Eurovision contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film was released a month later, on June 26, on Netflix. It received mixed reviews from critics.
In the small town of Húsavík, Iceland, Lars Erickssong and his best friend Sigrit make music together as the band Fire Saga, much to the dismay of Lars's widowed father, Erick. Lars has one dream: to win the Eurovision Song Contest. They apply and are selected to take part in Söngvakeppnin, the Icelandic pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. Sigrit, who believes in the old Icelandic tradition of elves, asks them to help them in the contest and that, if they win, Lars might finally return her feelings.
Their performance is a disaster, and the incredibly talented Katiana Lindsdóttir wins the pre-selection. Dejected, Lars and Sigrit look out at the boat party taking place with all the other contestants. The boat suddenly explodes, killing everyone on board. Fire Saga, as the only surviving contestants, automatically become Iceland's entry to the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest.
Lars and Sigrit arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland, and struggle with a new remix of their song and the elaborate stage design. They meet Alexander Lemtov, a Russian singer who is the favorite to win the contest. He invites them to a party at his house, attended by a number of real former Eurovision contestants, where he introduces Lars and Sigrit to the Greek singer Mita. Alexander and Sigrit spend the night together, as do Lars and Mita. This causes tension within Fire Saga, which almost derails their plans for the semifinal. Lars overhears Sigrit working on a new song for him in their hotel room, but he wrongly assumes it is a love song for Alexander. Katiana's ghost appears to Lars and warns him that his life is in danger; he ignores her.
Fire Saga reconcile before the semifinals. The performance of their song "Double Trouble" initially goes very well, but is derailed by an accident involving a giant hamster wheel. They recover and finish the song, but are met with deafening silence and scattered laughter. Lars storms out, leaving Sigrit behind. To her shock, Iceland is voted through to the finals.
Returning to Húsavík, Lars is unaware of Fire Saga's advancement in the contest. He talks with his father and confesses his love for Sigrit, and Erick tells him to return and fight for her love. On his way back to Reykjavík, Victor Karlosson (governor of the Central Bank of Iceland, and one of the Icelandic organisational team members) attempts to murder Lars and reveals he blew up the boat at Söngvakeppnin, as Iceland is bankrupt and cannot afford to host Eurovision the following year if Fire Saga wins. Luckily, unseen elves save Lars by killing Victor.
Lars makes it to the grand finale just in time to perform, after hitchhiking with some initially unwilling American tourists. Instead of their official entry, Sigrit and Lars perform the song she wrote for him, "Húsavík". Their friends and families are all touched, discovering that the song is an ode to their hometown, with some lyrics in Icelandic and a stunning finale. Erik watches the contest proudly with Sigrit's mother, Helka. Alexander – who is gay and unable to live openly in Russia – discusses with Mita the possibility of moving to Greece. Fire Saga is disqualified for changing their song during the contest, but both Lars and Sigrit have lost interest in winning the competition, having realized that their feelings are more important. They finally share a kiss.
Lars and Sigrit return home, where they are greeted with a hero's welcome. Some time later, Fire Saga have had a baby and Erick and Helka are getting married, and Fire Saga performs at their wedding. The band offers to play their Eurovision song, but everyone just wants to hear the local favorite folk song, "Ja Ja Ding Dong".
- Will Ferrell as Lars Erickssong, a middle-aged man with aspirations of winning the Eurovision Song Contest
- Rachel McAdams as Sigrit Ericksdóttir, Lars's bandmate and long-time best friend, who wishes for a romantic relationship with him
- Dan Stevens as Alexander Lemtov, a flamboyant singer representing Russia
- Mikael Persbrandt as Victor Karlosson, governor of the Central Bank of Iceland, who doesn't want Iceland to win the contest
- Pierce Brosnan as Erick Erickssong, Lars's disapproving widowed father
- Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Neils Brongus, president of RÚV, Iceland's national public service broadcaster
- Melissanthi Mahut as Mita Xenakis, another contestant, representing Greece
- Joi Johannsson as Jorn, a member of the Icelandic Eurovision committee
- Björn Hlynur Haraldsson as Arnar, a policeman who has a crush on Sigrit
- Demi Lovato as Katiana Lindsdóttir, winner of Söngvakeppnin
- Graham Norton as himself, a Eurovision commentator
- Jamie Demetriou as Kevin Swain, head of Iceland's creative team
- Jon Kortajarena as Corin Vladvitch, the Eurovision host
- Elina Alminas as Sasha More, the Eurovision host
- Alfrun Rose as Anna, a member of the Icelandic Eurovision committee
- Elin Petersdóttir as Helka, Sigrit's mother
- Christopher Jeffers as Johnny John John, a rapper representing Sweden
- Rebecca Harrod as Brittny, one of the American tourists
- Josh Zaré as Bill, one of the American tourists
- Bobby Lockwood as Jeff, one of the American tourists
- Eleanor Williams as Jenn, one of the American tourists
- Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson as Johans, one of Húsavík's policemen
- Natasia Demetriou as Nina, a crew member at the contest
- William Lee Adams as himself, a Eurovision commentator.
Several former contestants of the Eurovision Song Contest made cameos in the film:
- John Lundvik – Swedish representative in 2019
- Anna Odobescu – Moldovan representative in 2019
- Bilal Hassani – French representative in 2019
- Loreen – Swedish winner of the 2012 contest
- Jessy Matador – French representative in 2010
- Alexander Rybak – Norwegian winner of the 2009 contest & representative in 2018
- Jamala – Ukrainian winner of the 2016 contest
- Elina Nechayeva – Estonian representative in 2018
- Conchita Wurst – Austrian winner of the 2014 contest
- Netta – Israeli winner of the 2018 contest
Other notable special appearances include:
- Salvador Sobral (2017 winner) as a busker playing piano in Scotland
- Molly Sandén (2006 Junior contestant) whose voice was harmonized with Rachel McAdams' voice to create the singing voice of the character Sigrit Ericksdóttir.
Will Ferrell was introduced to Eurovision in 1999 by his Swedish wife, actress Viveca Paulin. Sweden happened to win that year with the song "Take Me to Your Heaven", which Ferrell mentions as a reason he became smitten with the competition.
In May 2018, in preparation for the film, Ferrell attended the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal, to research possible characters and scenarios for the film. He also spoke backstage with Eurovision contestants. On June 18, 2018, it was announced that Ferrell would star, co-write and produce a film inspired by the Eurovision Song Contest. The film would be distributed by Netflix.
In March 2019, David Dobkin signed on to direct the film. In May 2019, Rachel McAdams joined the cast. McAdams and Ferrell were spotted at the dress rehearsals of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel, the stage of which was rebuilt on a soundstage in London for the in-contest scenes, while plate shots were done with the real-life live audience in Tel Aviv.In August 2019, Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens and Demi Lovato, among others, joined the cast, with filming commencing in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, and in Iceland. Ferrell was pictured filming scenes at both the SSE Hydro, in Glasgow itself, and Glasgow Airport, in Abbotsinch, in October 2019.
Production costs in Iceland were $3.6 million, out of which the Icelandic government paid close to a million dollars as a part of the country's movie production incentives.
|Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga|
(Music from the Netflix Film)
|Released||June 26, 2020|
|Singles from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga|
(Music from the Netflix Film)
The soundtrack album for the film was released on June 26, 2020. "Volcano Man" was the first song released from the album and features vocals from Will Ferrell, Swedish singer Molly Sandén (credited as My Marianne) and Rachel McAdams. According to Netflix, Sandén's vocals were mixed with McAdams's own voice for the tracks. In a separate phone call with Vanity Fair, Eurovision's music producer, Savan Kotecha, said that Sandén and McAdams's "tones worked so well together" that, in playing back certain tracks, he had a hard time differentiating between the vocals.
|1.||"Double Trouble (Tiësto's Euro 90s Tribute Remix)" (performed by Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Molly Sandén and Tiësto)||2:28|
|2.||"Lion Of Love" (performed by Erik Mjönes)||Kotecha||2:47|
|3.||"Coolin' with Da Homies" (performed by Savan Kotecha)||Rami||1:26|
|4.||"Volcano Man" (performed by Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams and Molly Sandén)||1:21|
|5.||"Jaja Ding Dong" (performed by Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams and Molly Sandén)||1:37|
|6.||"In the Mirror" (performed by Demi Lovato)||Jörgen Elofsson||2:48 |
|7.||"Happy" (performed by Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams and Molly Sandén)||Pharrell Williams||1:26|
|8.||"Song-A-Long: "Believe", "Ray of Light", "Waterloo", "Ne partez pas sans moi", and "I Gotta Feeling"" (performed by Cast)||Alana da Fonseca||3:18|
|9.||"Running with the Wolves" (performed by Courtney Jenaé and Adam Grahn)||1:10|
|10.||"Fool Moon" (performed by Anteros)||Charlie Andrew||3:26|
|11.||"Hit My Itch" (performed by Antonio Sol, David Loucks, Taylor Lindersmith, and Nicole Leonti)||2:04|
|12.||"Come and Play (Masquerade)" (performed by Petra Nielsen)||Thomas G:son||G:son||3:08|
|13.||"Amar pelos dois" (performed by Salvador Sobral)||Luísa Sobral||L. Sobral||3:05|
|14.||"Husavik" (performed by Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams and Molly Sandén)||Fat Max Gsus||3:22|
|15.||"Double Trouble (Film Version)" (performed by Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams and Molly Sandén)||2:54|
|16.||"Eurovision Suite" (performed by Atli Örvarsson)||Örvarsson||Örvarsson||6:19|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)||78|
|Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)||35|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||28|
|UK Soundtrack Albums (OCC)||1|
|US Billboard 200||170|
|US Soundtrack Albums (Billboard)||5|
The Story of Fire Saga was digitally released by Netflix on June 26, 2020. In its first weekend, it was the top-streamed item on the service in the United States, and reached the number one ranking position in multiple other regions as well. In its second weekend it fell to number eight on the site.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 63% based on 139 reviews, with a weighted average of 5.81/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga contains inspired ingredients and laugh-out-loud moments, but they're outnumbered by the flat stretches in this overlong comedy." At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 50 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
According to Icelandic bloggers Kristin Kristjansdottir and Steinunn Björk Bragadóttir, the film was well-received by both Eurovision fans and native Icelanders, with the director of the local council of Húsavík welcoming the film.
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