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Longstocking family returns to big screen

EXCLUSIVE: Swedish producer Mirijam Johansson of Wanted Pictures today announces Efraim Longstocking and the Cannibal Princess.

The Longstocking family - Efraim Longstocking, father of the world’s strongest girl Pippi Longstocking, the brainchild of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren – will return to the screen in Efraim Longstocking and the Cannibal Princess, based on two books by Swedish author Joakim Langer, a screenplay by Daniel Fridell and Ulf Stark, and approved by Saltkråkan, which holds Lindgren rights.

In Cannes today, Swedish producer Mirijam Johansson, of Wanted Pictures, will announce the project – “a kind of Harry Potter with a Swedish touch,” as she puts it – having just signed the agreement with the Lindgren estate to use the Longstocking name and story. She is currently negotiating with a US topscriptwriter who will transfer the books and the endorsed screenplay to thescreen.

Lindgren was inspired for the Efraim character by Carl Pettersson, a Swedish sailor who became king of the Tabar Island - inhabited by cannibals - after marrying the chieftain’s daughter, then found a goldmine and was named the strongest man in the Bismarck archipelago. Langer went to Papua New Guinea in 2004 to further explore the family history, and first wrote In Search of Efraim and Pippi Longstocking and the King, on which Daniel Fridell and Ulf Stark based their script.

Lindgren’s first Pippi book was rejected by Sweden’s Bonnier Publishing – Time Magazine included it among the 100 most influential novels ever written. Originally Pippi was invented in the early 1930s when she was a typist and stenographer and wanted to amuse her daughter; the storieswere written between 1945-1948, 1969-1975, in 1979 and 2000. “Now, almost 70 years later, we know that Efraim was a real-life character,” says Johansson, who has previously produced, ao, Bloodbrothers (2005), with Millennium’s Noomi Rapace in the lead, and Allan Gustafsson’s June (2011), with David Dencik.

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