LazyTown stands stronger than ever. The company's relatives are big-hearted and seem to have every reason to be optimistic about the business in the coming years. "We have just become part of the Turner group, which in turn is part of Time Warner. Those agreements were finalized late 2011, and the purpose, among other things, to bring on board an owner who has the right distribution channels," say...
The contract with Steven Feldman, the director of the American television adventure about LazyTown, was not extended when it expired shortly after. The director has left the country and Magnús Scheving himself has taken over all direction. Magnús is considered a hard master and many well-known filmmakers have given up on working with him. His manager, however, says the filmmakers are unaccustomed to do a lot of work.
“Steven Feldman was not fired. However, his contract was not renewed when it expired, and there was not any other to replace the director as the work progressed” says Kjartan Már Kjartansson, executive director of the television adventure about Magnús Scheving’s LazyTown. Magnús himself has now taken over all directing of the TV episodes and it is not known if anyone else will be hired.
Many people think that this is in line with the way of working in LazyTown since the project started last autumn.
Many of the country’s best-known filmmakers immediately joined forces with Magnús in LazyTown, but many of them have already given up and blamed the creator’s tyranny: “He wants to be involved in everything and nothing can be done without his blessing.” says one of his former colleagues who has now hired himself for other jobs. “Actually, Magnús would have to be cloned if this was the way to work” he adds.
Kjartan Már himself does not know of any complaints about the amount of work in LazyTown, as he started working there himself on the 1st of July last year after his predecessor retired: “In fact, I think the explanation for all this is that Icelandic filmmakers are not used to the working culture that are used here. The workload is high and not everyone thrives on it. But it’s a lot of fun.” Among those who have left LazyTown is the cinematographer Karl Óskarsson, who is considered one of the top ten in Europe, his wife, Telma Tómasson and Inga Björk Sólnes, who worked for a long time in Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s Film Group.
Due to Magnús Scheving’s work ethic, which even depends on what his staff eats, the production plans of the television project, which is the largest and most expensive in all the Nordic countries this year, have had to be changed many times. The episodes about LazyTown were originally scheduled to be shown in the United States in May, but were postponed: “Now it has been decided that the premiere will be on August 16 on Nickelodeon television, which broadcasts to 85 million American households. The first episode is already in the hands of the television company as well as several others that are already fully finished” says Kjartan Már, managing director.
All work on LazyTown is done with new, mixed technology, which has not been tried much before. The episodes are fully finished in LazyTown’s film studio in Miðhraun 4 in Hafharfjörður and from there the episodes are sent ready for screening: “Projects like these are not for every Icelandic filmmakers, so it is not unnatural in some ways” says the managing director.
It was not possible to contact Magnús Scheving yesterday as he was fully in charge of directing the episodes. This has been the case for now and will be for the time being. Or as his colleague put it: “Although things have gone well, I’m sure that Magnús will get it done before it’s over. But that’s just because he has more endurance than the others who have to work with him.”