Jørn Utzon’s Competition Entry, Page 1, Perspective from staircase between the two halls looking towards the north, 1956
Credit: Jørn Utzon and Erik Andersson, courtesy of the Google Cultural Institute and the Sydney Opera House

The story behind Sydney’s iconic Opera House is set to receive the feature film treatment, with this evening’s announcement that revolutionary Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s incredible story is receiving the biopic it deserves.

With a working title in Utzon, The Man Behind The Opera House, the film will tell the story of Utzon (a role almost certain to be filled by Mads Mikkelsen or – fingers crossed – Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who won the coveted rights to design the titular opera house through an international competition in 1956 – a crowning achievement that would soon be marred by irreconcilable government corruption, forcing him to resign from the project prior to its completion in 1966. Utzon never again returned to Australia to see his defining work completed.

The film will be a joint production between Danish, Swedish and Australian co-producers, including Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s executive producer Ole Søndberg. Petter Skavlan, the writer behind 2013 Oscar nominated Best Foreign Film Kon-Tiki, will produce the screenplay.

In occasion of the announcement, Swedish-Australian producer Jan Marnell of Right2Screen reflected, “We have a world wonder. We have its creator – who wasn’t allowed to see his dream fulfilled.

“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.”
“What do they want? In the end, they want to take back what they believe should have been theirs in the first place. We are incredibly excited about the prospect of telling the story of the creation of the Sydney Opera House. It has all it takes for the big screen. I would love to take it there.”

And we would love to see as many Hemsworths as possible in supporting roles.

Tile image: Courtesy of the Google Cultural Institute and the Sydney Opera House

Cover image: Bettmann Collection / Contributor via Getty Images