Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning to make movie about Thor Heyerdhal’s 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition.

Max Manus co-directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning are making a feature about scientist Thor Heyerdhal’s 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition, which has received $3.6m (NOK 18.1m) in production support from the Norwegian Film Institute.

The $10.6m (NOK63m) project, Norway’s most expensive feature so far, is being produced by Scandinavian major, Nordisk Film Production, and the UK’s Recorded Picture Company (RPC).

Kon-Tiki was the name of the wooden raft that Heyerdahl and five fellow scientists used for a 101-day journey from South America to the Polynesian Islands.

In 1950,  the 8,000-kilometre voyage was turned into a documentary directed by Heyerdahl himself, with the original crew, which became the first Norwegian full-length film to win an Oscar for Swedish producer-editor Olle Nordemar.

Heyerdahl’s book about the trip has been translated into more than 70 languages. Until his death in 2002, the scientist was developing a feature version of Kon-Tiki, in collaboration with RPC’s Jeremy Thomas, who will co-produce the film with Nordisk.

Petter Skavlan will script the movie, which will be produced by Aage Aaberge and Lone Korslund. Shooting will commence in June, and the film will be ready in the autumn of 2011 and will be distributed by Nordisk Film and the UK’s Hanway Films.