The locations of the Eurovision Song Constest Film
Eurovision: a child’s dream
Lars Ericksson (Will Ferrell) has dreamed of only one thing ever since he was a child: to take part in Eurovision. With his childhood friend Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams), they formed a duo and went through the different stages to land their participation in this mondiovision show.
Eurovision Song Contest has been broadcast on Netflix since 26 June. Originally scheduled to coincide with the broadcast of the 2020 final of the contest on May 16, it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. From the first weekend, the film was number one in several regions of the world.
The feature film is written by Will Ferrell and Andrew Steele. The actor has been interested in Eurovision since 1999 and a visit to the Swedish family of his wife Viveca Paulin. He even travelled to Copenhagen in 2014 to follow the final in which Conchita Wurst was crowned. He did the same four years later to follow the rehearsals and the show in Lisbon. He was then part of the Swedish delegation.
On a winter evening in 1974, friends were watching the Eurovision final. This edition was a landmark event as it saw the ABBA group emerge victorious. Little Lars is then captivated by the show. He dances in front of the screen and swears that later he will participate: “I will win the Eurovision Song Contest and that day nobody will laugh at me anymore”.
The small town of Húsavík in Iceland serves as the setting for many scenes in the film. Spectators can notably discover it during the shooting of the video clip of Fire Saga, the duo composed of Lars and Sigrit, but also during the sometimes tense exchanges between the young man and his father (Pierce Brosnan). Located on the shore of Skjálfandi Bay, the name Húsavík means “Bay of Houses” in Icelandic. It is internationally renowned for its whale observatory. If the main building is its wooden church built in 1907, it also houses the Icelandic Phallological Museum, collecting the penis of every species of mammal present in the country. Pierce Brosnan, Lars’ father’s interpreter, is only 13 years younger than Will Ferrell.
Icelandic selection for Eurovision in Reykjavik
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL, United Kingdom
Lars and Sigrit are drawn to participate in the Icelandic selection for Eurovision. They are invited to Reykjavik to take part in the show, which is broadcast on RUV, the country’s public television. Twelve singers or groups follow one another on stage to become the official candidate of the country. There is notably Katiana Lindsdottir (Demi Lovato), a big favourite of the competition.
Lars decides to go and check one last time at the control room that the lights are correct. He’s late and Sigrit starts singing alone. The performance is catastrophic. The audience laughs. The interpreter goes outside to cry. He’s being joined by his friend. They’re watching the building explode. This dramatic contest qualifies them directly for the Eurovision Song Contest.
The interior of the Conway Hall serves as a backdrop for the Icelandic selection. This place is the oldest organization of free thinkers in the world. Inaugurated in 1929, it houses a series of chamber music concerts, the oldest in Europe. She advocates “affordable classical music for all”.
Edinburgh EH12 9DN, United Kingdom
Lars and Sigrit are coming through the terminal at this airport. The Eurovision Song Contest takes place that year in Edinburgh. They then drive around the city in a car with a removable roof.
Rachel McAdams does not perform the Fire Saga song. She is dubbed by the Swedish singer Molly Sanden. Her voice can nevertheless be heard during the rehearsal as well as when she sings Husavik in her hotel room. Located 13 km from the city centre, Edinburgh Airport is the sixth largest airport in the UK. The current terminal was designed by Robert Matthew and was built in 1977.
Many singers appear in their own roles in the film. The Frenchmen Jessy Matador and Bilal Hassani are among the most prominent, but also the Swede John Lundvik, the Ukrainian Jamala and Conchita Wurtz.
The National Monument of Scotland, 86-88 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JR, United Kingdom
After dropping off their business at their hotel, Lars and Sigrit discover the city by segway. They pass The National Monument of Scotland before stopping to listen to Salvador Sobral, the 2017 Eurovision winner. The Portuguese artist performs the winning song, Amar pelos dois, on the piano.
The National Monument of Scotland was erected in memory of the Scottish soldiers who died in the Napoleonic Wars. Drawn between 1823 and 1826, it was inspired by the Parthenon in Athens. Due to lack of funds, it remains unfinished and consists of only 12 columns and an architrave.
The rock band Moon Fang was performed by the British Bogus Gasman. Beneath their heavy metal singer’s masks, they are a nod to the band Lordi, winner of the contest in 2006.
The Eurovision Concert Hall
Expo Tel Aviv, Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Center, Rokach Blvd 101, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Sigrit is impressed by the voice of the Russian candidate, Alexander Lemtov (Dan Stevens). During the rehearsal, he winked at her. She’s falling under his spell. For the first technical spinning, the young singer is surprised by the dancers and the flames. She didn’t know about the tricks. After their performance, the bookies ranked them last.
Located north of Tel Aviv, Expo Tel Aviv returns several times in the feature film, notably for the competition’s interior scenes (semi-final and final). This centre is composed of ten rooms or pavilions and a large outdoor space. The 64th Eurovision Song Contest was hosted by the EBU in May 2019.
As in the real show, Eurovision is presented by Graham Norton, playing himself. He has also regularly interviewed Will Ferrell in The Graham Norton Sho, his show on BBC One.
Knebworth House, Old Knebworth Ln, Stevenage SG1 2AX, United Kingdom
After the first day of rehearsals, Alexander invites all the contest participants to come and party in his castle. The Russian singer likes luxury, which is noticeable from the entrance where he has had statues in his effigy installed in a very formal and antique style.
Situated in Hertfordshire, this country house is known to have been the scene of rock concerts in the 1970s to 1990s such as those of Led Zeppelin, Queen, Deep Purple, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Oasis, Iron Maiden or Red Hot Chili Peppers. Numerous series or films were shot in this Tudor Gothic style building: Anastasia (1956), Batman (1989), The Ghost of Canterville (1996), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), A King’s Speech (2010) and The Hour (2011).
Golden Ross Fontaine
Princes St, Edinburgh EH1 2EU, United Kingdom
Lars speaks to himself through his reflection in the water of this fountain. Sitting on the ledge, he raves when a group of American tourists arrive. The singer insults them.
Installed in the Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, this monument was erected in 1872. The fountain was produced at Antoine Durenne’s iron foundry in the French village of Sommevoire in Haute-Marne. It was visible at the 1862 World’s Fair in London. It was then bought by Daniel Roos who donated it to the Scottish city. During its restoration, it was repainted in turquoise, brown and gold.
Iceland, along with Malta and Cyprus, are the only countries that have never won the Eurovision Song Contest.
Exteriors of the Eurovision Concert Hall
SSE Hydro, Exhibition Way, Stobcross Rd, Glasgow G3 8YW, United Kingdom
For the semi-final, Lars is suspended in a circus wheel. As they perform “Give me your love”, the wheel comes off, Sigrit’s scarf wraps around her and almost strangles her. It’s another disaster for Fire Saga.
While the indoor stages were shot in Tel Aviv, the outdoor stages for the Eurovision Song Contest were shot at the SSE Hydro, a 13,000-seat multi-purpose hall. Located in the Scottish Event Campus, this performance arena was inaugurated in 2013 with a concert by Rod Stewart. It can host music shows, political meetings and sporting events.
During the end credits of the feature film, all the actors wave the flag of their country of birth. Only Pierce Brosnan wears two: the Irish and the American. Born in the former, he obtained the citizenship of the latter in 2004.
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