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Sydney Opera House
Photograph: Daniel Boud

Sydney Opera House: The Movie is coming

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Written by
Nick Dent
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Danish architect Jørn Utzon and his most famous creation are to be the subject of a feature film, a co-production between Denmark, Sweden and Australia.

Currently titled Utzon: The Man Behind the Opera House (presumably until a more architecturally sound name comes along), the project has producers, including one of the people behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and a screenwriter, Petter Skavlan (who scribed another famous true story for the big screen, Kon-Tiki)

The project is certainly cinema worthy. It’s basically a miracle as building as beautiful as the Opera House exists, given that it was greenlighted by an Australian State government in the crushingly conservative 1950s, ten years even before Indigenous Australians received the vote. And once the project started to falter in 1966, Utzon left the country, never to return, or lay eyes on the completed building. We’re tearing up even just thinking about that.

“I have been fascinated by the story of Jørn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House for many years and look forward to finally getting the project under way,” says Skavlan, who compares the Utzon story to Ayn Rand’s novel of architectural ambition The Fountainhead. “Against all odds Utzon managed to build his opera house, and the epic battle between the architect and the corrupt Askin government is perfect movie material.”

One of the producers, Jan Marnell (whose credits include the underrated Miranda Otto charmer South Solitary) is understandably “incredibly excited” about the project. “We have a world wonder. We have its creator – who wasn´t allowed to see his dream fulfilled. We have creativity versus bureaucracy and political manoeuvring.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the news of the Opera Australia revival of Alan John’s 1995 opera The Eighth Wonder, retitled Sydney Opera House: The Opera, set for November this year.

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