VICE Films will finance with Insurgent Media, 20th Century Fox and Chimney Pot, the sensational story of Norwegian Black Metal band MAYHEM under the moniker Lords Of Chaos, a name taken from Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind’s 1998 book about the Norwegian Black Metal scene, focusing on the string of church burnings and murders that occurred in the country in the early ‘90s.
Jonas Åkerlund, the Swedish music video director and former drummer with legendary heavy metal band Bathory, will direct the film from a screenplay he co-wrote. The project was first unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Rory Culkin (Signs) will play Euronymous (Øystein Aarseth), who was stabbed to death by fellow band member Varg Vikernes in 1993. He owned both the Helvete (Norwegian for "hell") record shop in Oslo and the Deathlike Silence record label, in addition to his role as guitarist for MAYHEM.
Varg Vikernes aka. Count Grishnackh will be played by Emory Cohen (Brooklyn, The Place Beyond the Pines), stabbed Euronymous to death in 1993.
MAYHEM's late lead singer, Dead (Per Yngve Ohlin), will be played by Jack Kilmer (The Nice Guys). Dead killed himself in 1991
Emperor drummer Faust (Bard Eithun) will be played by Valter Skarsgård. He was jailed for the 1992 murder of a gay man, luring him into the woods and stabbing him some 37 times. The day after the murder, he burned down a church with Euronymous and Vikernes.
In a press release, VICE's Danny Gabai said: "This is a wildly freaky story that our audience has been obsessed with for years, and Jonas' brilliantly imaginative take on it is simultaneously one of the most uniquely entertaining and beautifully humanistic scripts we've seen in a long time."
Insurgent Media's Ezna Sands said of the film: "This is a premise with unique universal appeal, a kind of 'Trainspotting' for the millennial generation, and Insurgent Media leapt at the opportunity to get "Lords Of Chaos" onto the main stage. This is the start of a hugely exciting journey along with the teams at Fox, VICE and Scott Free."
VICE's Danny Gabai and Jim Czarnecki are producing along with Insurgent's Ezna Sands, Scott Free's Jack Arbuthnott, Chimney Pot's Frederick Zander, Kwesi Dickson and Eleven Arts' Ko Mori, with VICE Films' Eddy Moretti, Shane Smith and Vince Landay executive producing alongside Insurgent's Ashley Richardson and Scott Free's Carlo Dusi. Protagonist is handling international sales, with Fox coming on board to handle North American, U.K., Scandinavian and Brazilian rights.
"Lords Of Chaos" is described as "the terrifying story based on real events about a dream-turned-nightmare for a group of teenagers who spiral out of control. "The movie will follow the life of Euronymous (a.k.a. Øystein Aarseth), the founding member of MAYHEM who was murdered in 1993 by BURZUM's Kristian "Varg" Vikernes. In the movie, Euronymous "becomes fixated on creating true 'Norwegian black metal' music with his band MAYHEM, and creates a phenomenon by using shocking stunts to put the band's name on the map. But as the lines between publicity and reality start to blur, acts of arson, violence and a vicious murder shock the nation."
"Lords Of Chaos: The Bloody Rise Of The Satanic Metal Underground" was originally published in 1998 by Feral House U.S. A second edition followed in 2003, documenting black metal activities since 1997.
Back in 2009, when initial reports surfaced that the "Lords Of Chaos" book was being turned into a movie, vocalist Satyr (Sigurd Wongraven) and drummer Frost (Kjetil-Vidar Haraldstad) of the Norwegian the black metal band SATYRICON expressed their disgust over the plans. Satyr told Dagbladet.no: "Now that the focus on black metal finally has shifted towards the actual music, this gossip journalism in the shape of a book is made into a movie. Since 'Lords Of Chaos' is an incredibly bad book, I can only assume the movie will be bad as well."
He continued, "It is sad that such an inaccurate story, written by someone who doesn't understand black metal, has become a book of reference. And it is sad that someone is willing to go that far to exploit the history of black metal."
Frost added: "This is a parasitic phenomenon."