Here’s some extracts from an interview with ‘What Happened To Monday’ director Tommy Wirkola.The interviewer was Rebecca Ford of The Hollywood Reporter.

Norway-born helmer Tommy Wirkola moves into new territory with the upcoming sci-fi film What Happened to Monday?, starring Noomi Rapace as seven identical twins in a futuristic world where families are limited to one child because of overpopulation.

The director, 36, is known for his action-heavy work, including the zombie comedy-horror cult hit Dead Snow and its sequel and Paramount’s 2013 Jeremy Renner-starrer Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. But Monday, which SND Groupe M6 has at AFM, allows Wirkola to dive into a gritty futuristic world, not to mention deal with the challenge of having his lead actress play seven characters.

The L.A.-based filmmaker spoke to THR about how he juggled septuplets, what he thinks about Netflix and the latest on the Hansel & Gretel sequel.

How did you end up on What Happened on Monday?

My friend, Morten Tyldum, was on it before I was, and I heard about the story through him. He left it to go do The Imitation Game, and I read the script after that. I felt it had a similar feel to Children of Men, Looper and Blade Runner — all those sci-fi films with a limited budget — but with a really cool high-concept idea. When I met with them, the script that was written was for a man, it was about these seven brothers. But I always wanted to work with Noomi, whom I knew from way back. So I met with producer Raffaella De Laurentiis and pitched the story with a woman, starring Noomi. She loved the idea.

What was inspiring to you about sci-fi films like Children of Men, Looper and Blade Runner?

Those films were the main inspiration because we wanted to create — not a glossy, perfect, neat super-futuristic future — but this gritty, overpopulated, troubled one filled with garbage. So those films, with good realism to them and the world-building, were especially inspiring.

What were the challenges of directing a film where one actress is playing seven characters?

There were many challenges technically and also with story: How can you do this without it being a gimmick? Shooting it would take very long. We ended up shooting in Romania, where we could get the most for our money, and we had a budget of about $20 million. We shot in 94 days, which is an extremely long shoot. The first two months, almost, it was just Noomi alone playing against herself. We had to hire seven doubles, seven good actors from Europe, so we could rehearse with them and could basically block out all the scenes with them.

When we shot it, I had a rule that I’d shoot it like any other scene. I didn’t focus on the fact that it was the same actress playing different roles. I didn’t want the audience pulled out of the film. Of course, the technical side is one side of it, but the other is Noomi’s performance — the nuances and differences that she added to the different characters.


The Hollywood Reporter