Making Iceland Ours: First Contraband, Next City State

Philip Jackson, aka Chief Inspector Japp from Poirot, as William in Borgríki
Philip Jackson, aka Chief Inspector Japp from Poirot, as William in Borgríki
Now that Contraband, based on the Icelandic film Reykjavík-Rotterdam  and with a screenplay by crime novelist Arnaldur Indridason (Indriðason), has hit box-office gold, how long before the next American thriller based on an Icelandic film is announced? Apparently not long at all.

Word is the 2011 low-budget Icelandic film Borgríki (City State) will be given the full Hollywood treatment. Weirdly, the announcement about the American version of Borgríki was made in October 2011, at the Icelandic film’s premiere by the Icelandic film’s director Olaf de Fleur Jóhannesson. You can’t blame him for being excited, but it’s early days yet.

James Mangold (Walk the Line, Cop Land, Knight and Day) has been tapped to direct the U.S. version of City State just as soon as he finishes shooting The Wolverine, the next installment of the X-Men franchise. And those things take a while. City State probably won’t hit theaters until 2014.

Here’s the brief on the Icelandic original, via :

City State is set in the Icelandic underworld and deals with four people whose lives intersect when a foreign mafia decides to take control of the Icelandic drug market. There is a crooked police captain in love with a prostitute, an aging crime boss with a heart condition looking to get out of the game alive, a mechanic determined to avenge the death of his unborn child, and a female cop who is attacked by thugs and takes matters into her own hands.

The trailer below is not for the faint-hearted.

Leslie Gilbert Elman, author of Weird But True: 200 Astounding, Outrageous, and Totally Off the Wall Facts, would like to remind you—subtly—that books make excellent gifts. Follow her on Twitter @leslieelman.


  1. Terrie Farley Moran

    Tough stuff–and I never heard of these works. This is why I hang out at CE. It is the only place where I can learn all sorts of interesting things in the field of crime entertainment. Thanks for this post. I had no idea.

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