Filmmakers Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg revisit Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl’s legendary ocean crossing on a wooden raft in their new film Kon-Tiki.
In 1947, Heyerdahl sailed for 101 days across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to the South Sea islands – a nearly 7,000 kilometre voyage.
Director Espen Sandberg said: “Thor is a very interesting human being. And we also saw ourselves a little bit in him. He’s certainly complex. He’s very strong-willed and he just had to be right, and we found it very interesting that he was willing to go on these nine balsa wood logs and risk his life and the lives of his crew to prove his theory. And on top of that he was actually terrified of water. He couldn’t swim.”
The raft used in the movie is one that Heyerdahl’s grandson Olav built and used to re-trace his grandfather’s footsteps in 2006.
Heyerdahl’s adventure has been dubbed the first reality show. He took a camera and a radio and he and his crew of five transmitted updates in Morse code and later made an Oscar-winning documentary.
Roenning and Sandberg said: “It has changed us and I think we’ve also talked a lot about that the price of success. It is often paid by others and we also have that in the movie. He is very ambitious and he does reach his goal but he also loses his family. And that’s something that we also talked about a lot because we travel all the time and we are away from our wives and kids, so we’ll try to find a balance that he did not.”
Nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars this year, Kon-Tiki is now on general release in many countries worldwide.