New feature film to tell of architect’s struggle for the Sydney Opera House

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New feature film to tell of architect's struggle for the Sydney Opera House
Jørn Utzon in front of the Sydney Opera House during its construction in the mid-1960s.

Danish, Swedish and Australian production team says Jørn Utzon’s fight for his radical design is ‘perfect movie material’

The controversial history behind one of the world’s most recognisable buildings, the Sydney Opera House is to be the subject of a new feature film made by an international team.

The film will be produced by Swedish-Australian Jan Marnell and Australian producers Marian Macgowan and Peter Herbert, with Danish executive producer Ole Søndberg (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Swedish executive producer Lars Weiss, and a screenplay from Petter Skavlan, who wrote the Oscar-nominated 2012 film Kon-Tiki.

With the working title Utzon, The Man Behind the Opera House, the film will tell the story of Danish architect Jørn Utzon, who was just 38 years old and relatively unknown when he won the international competition to design an opera house on Sydney’s Bennelong Point in 1957.

Construction on the radical design was blighted by a series of misadventures after it began in 1958 – there were construction delays, cost blowouts and design problems that had no easy fixes. By 1965 a new Liberal-led state government was elected, led by Robin Askin, who was less sympathetic to the beleaguered project than his Labor predecessor. Askin’s minister of works, Davis Hughes, began blocking the funds and resources Utzon needed to complete his work, leading to Utzon resigning from the project in protest in 1966, moving back to Denmark and vowing never to return. […]

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