Story of building of Sydney Opera House to hit the big screen
Danish architect struggled against budget constraints, politics and local opposition to his design, and never visited the completed building
The story behind the Sydney Opera House and its Danish architect Jorn Utzon is to be made into a film, with the Swedish producer behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on board.
The Danish/Swedish/Australian production will tell the story of how Utzon upset the conservative Australian architectural establishment by winning an international competition to design the building and his battles to push through his radical ideas.
“Utzon was a great Danish architect and the story of how he created the Sydney Opera is both fascinating and scary. This story has to be told,” executive producer Ole Sondberg says.
Sondberg is best known for producing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, part of the Millennium trilogy based on Stieg Larsson’s novels. He was also behind the popular Wallander television series.
Utzon arrived in Sydney as a celebrity in 1957 but his ambitious design, with the building’s distinctive white sails drawn from his childhood in the Aalborg shipyards, was beset by domestic politics, petty jealousies and budget constraints.
The controversies that dogged him and the project for years saw him quit in 1966.
He never returned to see his revolutionary concept as a finished building. It was opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabethand he died in 2008.
A year before his death, the harbour-side building was added to the World Heritage List, with the committee saying the structure “stands by itself as one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th century but in the history of humankind”.
“We have a world wonder. We have its creator who wasn’t allowed to see his dream fulfilled,” says Swedish-Australian producer Jan Marnell.
“We have creativity versus bureaucracy and political manoeuvring ranging from friend to foe. We have an outstanding architect with streaks of megalomania and genius, and his vengeful opponents who plot to get him out of the country.
“It has all it takes for the big screen.”
No details were given on when Utzon: The Man Behind the Opera House would begin filming.