Few stories have bewitched extreme music fans like the church burnings and murder chronicled in Lords of Chaos, the true-crime story centered around the True Norwegian Black Metal scene of the early nineties. Varg Vikernes, the 43 year old leader of one-man band Burzum who used to go by Count Grishnackh, continues to fascinate and frustrate with his (often racist) online rants, even after serving a 14-plus year sentence for the brutal murder of his friend and rival, Euronymous.
Now, courtesy of one of the cofounders of the black metal scene, the grim story is set to get the feature film treatment.
Filmmaker Jonas Åkerlund will cowrite and direct Lords Of Chaos, a joint production between VICE Films, Insurgent Media and 20th Century Fox, who has locked distribution rights in North America and select international territories. Akerlund is best known in mainstream circles as the director behind Beyonce: Lemonade, The Prodigy: Smack My Bitch Up and multiple Grammy and MTV VMA award-winning music videos for Britney Spears, Madonna, Maroon 5 and The Rolling Stones. He’s also the director of Spun, the cult classic drug movie known for its multiple fast cut editing style, which starred Jason Schwartzman, Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy, and John Leguizamo. Spun featured a cameo from Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, as a porn shop clerk, offering a hint to the director’s deep roots in the metal scene.
Åkerlund was a founding member of black metal pioneers Bathory. His first music video was for Swedish doom metal masters Candlemass.
Rory Culkin (Signs) will star as Øystein “Euronymous” Aarseth, a key figure in the Norwegian black metal who owned both Helvete (Norwegian for “hell”) record shop in Oslo and the Deathlike Silence record label, in addition to his role as guitarist for Mayhem. Mayhem’s late lead singer, Per Yngve Ohlin aka Dead, will be played by Jack Kilmer (The Nice Guys). A controversial figure known for self-harm, Dead killed himself in 1991, leaving a suicide note that infamously began with the line, “Excuse the blood.”
Euronymous took photograph’s of his late bandmate’s corpse, which later surfaced as gruesome album artwork on a Mayhem bootleg.
The Norwegian black metal scene, with its corpse paint makeup and eerily lo-fi blast-beat powered anti-religious music, produced legendary bands like Darkthrone, Emperor, who were certainly inspired by Bathory, Venom, and Slayer. Several members of the scene were arrested for the arson of historic churches.
Emperor drummer Bard “Faust” Eithun, who will be played by Valter Skarsgård The Black Sea), was jailed for the 1992 murder of a gay man. Eithun admitted to luring the man into the woods and stabbing him some 37 times. The day after the murder, he burned down a church with Euronymous and Vikernes.
Vikernes, who will be played by Emory Cohen (Brooklyn, The Place Beyond the Pines), stabbed Euronymous to death in 1993. Lords of Chaos will also star Sky Ferreira (“Twin Peaks”) as a woman named Ann-Marit.
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: “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.”