Norwegian Star Actor

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Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivju came from nowhere – now he is Norway’s soon to be Hollywood hero.

The red carpet were rolled out when the movie about the ‘Birch legs’(The Last King) premiered in Norway last month.

The film is directed by Nils Gaup (Pathfinder, 1987 and The Kautokeino Rebellion, 2008) and set in the year 1204, telling the story of a flight that changed Norway. Two Norwegian warriors, played by Kristofer Hivju and Jakob Oftebro, escape across the mountains in order to bring the last remaining heir to the throne to safety.

From left: Kristofer Hivju, Jakob Oftebro and Paal Sverre Hagen
From left: Kristofer Hivju, Jakob Oftebro and Paal Sverre Hagen

The Birkebeiner (birch legs) were a political-armed group in Norway between 1174 and 1218, during the period known as the Civil Wars. In its origin, it was a marginal rebel group that rose up in arms against the reign of Magnus V of Norway and his father, Erling Skakke.

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They reached the throne in 1184 and were since then the most powerful group in the country until their King Haakon IV of Norway was recognized by the main opposing factor, the Bagler.

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Kristofer Evju (37) has won the Oslo Championship of Rock, crashed three sail boats and was hit by depression at the age of 21. He grew up in a family, where even his father’s mother was an actor. His father, Erik Hivju, is a prominent character actor who appeared with his son in the short film Flax where Kristofer shared screenwriting credit with Bård Ivar Engelsås.

The Last King - production scene
The Last King – production scene

Kristofer made his American film debut in Matthijs van Heiningen Jr.’s 2011 remake of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Next he was seen in M. Night Dhyamalan’s After Earth but he is most recognizable as fan favorite Tormund Giantsbane on HBO’s Game of Thrones.

But now Hivju jr. is of current interest with the new film, The Last King, or Birkebeinerne (The Birch Legs).

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The picture above shows the coat of arms of Lillehammer. It is the only town in the world with a skier on its coat of arms.

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The painting ‘Skiing Birchlegs Crossing the Mountain with the Royal Child’ by artist Knud Bergslien from 1869 is located at the Ski Museum, Holmenkollen in Oslo.

The film is based on real events and the painting is said to have had a major influence on the production design. Since the producers started casting in in 2013 to find several hundred ‘bearded, rugged men’ as well as ‘warrior women’ to star as extras, the anticipation has been high.

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One Norwegian film critics states, however, that “there is too much sticky snow and that the dialogue is sometimes awkward. The film is not particularly nuanced. Evil is evil, and Birchlegs seem so good that you can almost see their glory. I had expected more depth.

The action scenes on the other hand are pretty good. Here it goes snowballed, literally. “The ski chases are masterfully portrayed. Sometimes you feel you are up on the ground, birkebeiner style”.

Norwegian Star Actor, written by Tor Kjolberg

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