From left to right: Author Johan Høst and Director Jens Lien
Courtesy of Jonas Laumann

Johan Høst, the Norwegian author of action-thriller DELTA: En Nasjon i Sjakk or The National Gambit, will be adapted to film.

The official Synopsis goes as follows:

Norway’s prime minister is kidnapped by a terrorist and disappears without a trace. The terrorist makes only one demand. That the politicians in power are playing a game of chess over the prime minister’s life. The chess pieces represent people who work for the state or as leaders in society. If the politicians win the game, the prime minister will live, but every time the terrorist takes a piece, a human must pay with their life. The politicians and their appointed rescue team, the Delta Squad, are faced with an impossible dilemma: Can they afford to sacrifice other human lives in an attempt to save the prime minister? With only 24 hours to win the game and save the prime minister, they have no choice but to play, but with every move they make, death comes closer. And with no leads to go on, could sacrificing a first chess piece give them a clue to find the terrorist?

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Johan Høst debut novel DELTA: En Nasjon i Sjakk follows Delta Squad leader Anton Block and his colleague Björk Jónsdottir.

“I am beside myself with excitement that there will now be a film of En nasjon i sjakk. I am touched because the book and the story, that I have thought about for several years and had as my side project, is now going to appear on the big screen together with the giant SF Studios. Now the story lives on and will get new perspectives and angles in a big action film setting. I can’t wait to see how director Jens Lien will tell this story. I have long been a fan of him, and the fact that he is going to make a film of my book is a surreal out-of-body experience for me. My hope and my vision have been to write more books about Anton, Björk and the Delta Squad, and I have also many times said out loud that they should be made into a film. So, to see now that it is happening, inspires me even more to continue with what I am currently doing: writing the second novel of the Delta trilogy”, says Johan Høst, author.

The novel was launched in February 2022 by Vigmostad & Bjørke and has recently been nominated for the Norwegian Boksellers Award 2022 and been released in Denmark, soon to be followed by a release in Sweden and Bulgaria. En Nasjon i sjakk is part of a trilogy, and the second novel is under development.

“Johan has written quite a story where the shock effect is obviously one of the ingredients. At the same time, he balances seriousness, playfulness, brutality and style in a way you don’t see much of in Norwegian film. The heroes are superb, funny and smart, while the villains are evil and transgressive. I find Johan’s cocktail of grand politics, chess, terror and revenge to be both modern, fresh and daring. At the same time, my thoughts also go to the 90s and the heyday of action thrillers with classics such as The Negotiator and Seven”, says Jens Lien, director.

Director is Jens Lien, screenwriters are Rakel Kraft Biørnstad and Christopher Grøndahl. Lien has directed feature films Jonny Vang and The Troublesome Man.

“Johan’s debut as a writer is completely unparalleled in the Norwegian context. The reviews, the feedback from readers and the enormous volumes that the book has sold make us humble in our mission to bring this story to the big screen. Fortunately, all our partners share our enthusiasm and ambitions for this film adaptation. And with the solid team that we now have and a large audience in mind, we hope to be able to offer a unique action thriller that will entertain many cinemagoers both here at home and abroad”, say Stig Hjerkinn Haug, Fredrik Støbakk and Tale Bryn Teigene, producers.

The film The Nation’s Gambit will be produced by Stig og Stein Studio with producers Stig Hjerkinn Haug, Fredrik Støbakk and Tale Bryn Teigene. SF Studios are handling the international distribution. The date for the film is still not set.

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