EXCLUSIVE: Lasse Hallstrom leaves Nicole Kidman sex change feature but ramps up plans for The Hypnotist.

Lasse Hallstrom has left the planned Nicole Kidman starrer The Danish Girl. The film about the world’s first sex change operation was to have been made in Germany this summer, but now stands without a director.

“There has been too much back and forth with the film, I don´t think the script is perfect and since Rachel Weisz left the project two weeks ago, there is not a complete cast,” Hallstrom told Screen. “This is a sensitive subject, and I feel a film about it should not be rushed into production without everything being perfect. But I have told the producers that if they don´t find a new director now, I´d be happy to make the film at a later stage.”

He’s now concentrating on The Hypnotist, his first film in Sweden in 25 years.

Here in Cannes yesterday, producer Peter Possne (of Sonet) revealed casting key casting news as Mikael Persbrandt (who starred in Susanne Bier’s Oscar winner In A Better World) is to play the lead in the $11m movie.

The Hypnotist already has buyers mesmerised as several major territories have boarded the film. Svensk (handling sales in the market) has confirmed sales deals with France (TF1), Germany (Prokino), Benelux (Lumiere), Spain (Aurum), Greece (Rosebud) and Australia (Hopscotch). Deals are pending with Russia and Eastern Europe.

“I have been in the business for 25 years. I have never seen such a huge interest in a film from Scandinavia as for The Hypnotist,” Possne commented.

In the film, adapted from the novel by Alexander and Alexandra Ahndortil, a psychiatrist needs to use hypnosis to help work out who murdered a young boy’s parents.

Shooting will begin on Jan 9, 2012.

Here in Cannes, Sonet has been showing footage of Kjell Sundvall’s thriller False Trail, a follow up to Sunvall’s big 1996 box office hit, Hunters. Svensk has closed deals with Germany (Atlas)  and France (Ninety Seven).


 The Swedish outfit (part of the Svensk) empire is also pushing ahead with a contemporary reworking of Strindberg’s Miss Julie (Julie’s Face) directed by Brigitte Staermose and starring actress and singer Trine Dyrholm and Magnus Kreppe. This is being made with Danish outfit Alphaville.



 Another new title on Sonet’s slate is Karzan Kader’s Slumdog millionaire style drama Bekas, about homeless kids in Kurdistan who dream of going to the US to meet Superman. This is being produced by Sandra Harms. Shooting begins in the autumn. ENDS