Norway’s Petter Næss directs the story based on true story of German pilot and British soldiers who became unlikely friends in Norway in 1940.

Norwegian director Petter Næss has started principal photography for his new WW2 epic, Comrade, on locations at Grotli near Skjaak in the Norwegian fjells, with an international cast including the UK’s Rupert Grint (Harry Potter) and Lachlan Nieboer, Germany’s Florian Lukas (Goodbye Lenin) and David Kross (The Reader), and Norway’s Stig Henrik Hoff (Max Manus).

Scripted by Ole Meldgaard, Dave Mango and Næss, the film is based on a true event on Apr 27, 1940, when German Luftwaffe pilot Horst Schopis’ bomber was shot down at Grotli by an RAF fighter, which subsequently crash-landed. By chance the three German and two English crew members found shelter from the strong Norwegian winter in the same cottage.

However, the $2.7 million (NOK 15 million) Zentropa International Norway production “is not a war movie,” Næss explained about his ninth film in 12 years. “Comrade is the story of two groups of enemies fighting to survive together in the wilderness, while at the same trying to keep up the enmity. Eventually they accept the absurdity of the situation and become friends – they even met after the war.”

98-year-old Horst Schopis – today’s only survivor from the incident – attended the first meeting of director and cast. Backed by $0.4 million (NOK 2 million) Eurimages funding, the first feature from Norway’s Zentropa is produced by the company’s CEO Valerie Edwina Saunders, and staged with Sweden’s Trolhättan Film. Co-producers include Madeleine Ekman and Peter Aalbæk Jensen.