Monday, August 1, 2011

The search of white males in 1969

Story board image by Désirée Nordlund

1969 “Pippi in the South Seas” was to be filmed. A bunch of extras were needed as pirates. First set was in Sweden. All extras were photographed and documented so they could find similar people in Yugoslavia for the next set. Then they moved to the third set in Barbados; only to realize that the locals were black. . . Nobody had thought about that. Barbados was not the tourist intense place it is now. What to do? Nothing against black people, but the first two takes had white male pirates. Elisabeth Fahlén – the production leader – walked into the one and only hotel in the area and succeeded to convince all white male guests to become pirates. So in the final movie one or two billionaires, quite a few CEOs and the explorer Thor Heyerdahl can be seen running and screaming as blood-thirsty pirates.

As I read the book about how the Astrid Lindgren movies were made, I get more and more stunned when I compare it to the movie making of today – at least how they are made in the United States. But one thing seems to be the same as now: stars want big hotel rooms. The previous Pippi-movies had had a few German actors since it was a co-production with a German production company. They sent the biggest stars they got, and they didn’t like to get wardrobes as hotel rooms and find that three kids were in the center of the director's attention.

Source: “Astrid Lindgrens filmvärld” by Petter Karlsson & Johan Erséus.

Image by Désirée Nordlund