Report: exploring ‘Into the White’ in Grotli

published 29 August 2011
written by Majbritt and Malene

It is June 20, 2011 and we are heading to Grotli Høyfjellshotel, which is situated on Grotli Mountain. As you all know, this is where Rupert and his “comrades” spent three very cold, fun and hectic weeks while filming the new film, Into the White. We were in the area on our annual roadtrip in Norway, so we felt like getting a feel of the area – as well as giving you a few treats about the time that was spent there during the filming.

The area is stunning with a rugged landscape and lots of incredible wild life. As we got closer to the hotel, we could see some discarded wrecks on the parking lot. It soon became clear to us that we were seeing a huge prop from the film scattered across the area – the plane which had been blown to pieces. We spent some time taking pictures of the plane – or what was left of it after the explosion.

Afterwards, we went inside the hotel and the first thing that met us was a big bulletin board with Norwegian articles about the filming of Into the White. They seemed very proud of the whole thing. We found the reception and asked if there was anyone we could speak with about the Comrade experience. The woman at the front desk was quite apprehensive at first because she mistook our intentions and thought we were after sleazy stories about Rupert’s private person. But we assured her that we only wanted to get an insight into the time the film crew spent on the mountain. After that we heard some nice stories about them all – including Rupert. And of course, we want to share them all with you – including our many pictures.

We didn’t expect to get the opportunity to talk with anyone on the day we arrived, so we hadn’t brought a tape recorder. However, we took notes from our talk with the receptionist who was there during the filming – so this report is based on our notes. We’ve decided to put the report into headings to make sure that it makes sense.

Rupert and his Comrade experience

One of the aspects of Grotli Mountain, which Rupert had a hard time dealing with, was the extreme weather; the cold was a bit overwhelming.

One day during Easter time, Rupert was sitting in the dining room with some other people and a lot of new guests (who were not associated with the film) started to arrive at the hotel – Rupert was alerted to this by the people at his table and his hoodie immediately came up and he sat down lower in his seat. He really didn’t want to be recognized and the hotel tried to comply with this wish as best they could because they got this vibe from him. The receptionist was also well aware of the hysteria in Trollhättan and she was glad that they could provide a different, and calmer, environment for him (quite easily managed since it’s not the easiest place to visit in early spring).

The staff at the hotel had nothing but nice things to say about Rupert and his personality. He was described as very down to earth and extremely nice.

The Reindeers

One of the more funny stories we heard about Rupert was his feelings towards reindeers – and we can already reveal that he’s not too fond of those. While most of the other guys were out filming, Rupert was staying in his room. Suddenly he came running out to the receptionist looking scared:
Rupert: “Oh my God, oh my God!”
Receptionist: “What, what??”
Rupert: “Reindeers!!”
Receptionist: “Erhm… yeah?”
The receptionist wanted to come and check why he had been so scared – after which Rupert merely said: “Well, they’re gone now!” Apparently a herd of reindeers were standing outside his window – however, this happens to be a quite common thing many places in Norway (a funny sidenote: a couple of days later we saw a single reindeer standing in the middle of the road as well as a large herd of about 100… we agreed that it was a good thing that Rupert wasn’t in the car with us… haha).

But the reindeers weren’t the only “terrifying” aspect about filming Into the White – another has to do with a certain haircut.

The Bowl Cut

When all the actors came back to the hotel after having their hair cut (and all in a charming bowl-cut) the receptionist couldn’t help but exclaim a loud “Oh” when seeing Rupert. The hair cut apparently suited him the least. He noticed her expression and answered back with a sullen “Yeah, I know.” So the hair cut wasn’t something he liked at first. But from what we’ve heard – he was far from the only one.

The Other Comrades

Spoiler alert: The Norwegian actor, Stig Henrik Hoff, plays a German soldier who gets shot by the Norwegian Home Guard; which is quite ironic when you think about it – the only Norwegian actor in the film is the one shot down by the Norwegians. Stig normally has a very scruffy look, so he had a hard time getting used to the clean cut look for the film – but an upside to this was that most people didn’t recognise him.

The chef at the hotel is German, and he bonded with Florian Lukas during the time they were there – they are said to still be in touch now.

The producers liked the look of the Swedish bartender who worked at the hotel, and offered him a place in the film as an extra where he plays a soldier.

The director, Petter Næss, loved the area so much that he was going to come back during the summer as a regular tourist. Maybe he won’t be the only one coming back? The area is definitely worth a visit – and the hotel itself has a good deal to offer as well – especially the plane is worth a look or two.

Crash-landing on a Parking Lot

The plane which we saw on the parking lot in front of the hotel had been used during the filming as a prop. They wanted to keep it authentic – so they shot at it and blew it up just like it happened during the war. However, it didn’t go as planned. They were suddenly surprised by the wind and the fire got a bit out of control.

People often ask the hotel staff if there had been an accident because of the plane’s remains visibly placed on the parking lot. It looks quite real. While we were taking photographs of it, a group of British tourists (maybe seven cars) drove up and started talking about the plane as if it was real and not a prop. They did a great job recreating it – we also saw a model of the plane that wasn’t destroyed at the Gardermoen Museum where they had the press conference before filming started. The atmosphere was just right – we were on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by air plane debris. We can only imagine how it must have felt on set when they filmed.

Location, Location, Location

The film was shot right behind the hotel where the British plane emergency landed on April 27, 1940 – while the German plane crash landed further away in front of the hotel. The reason that they didn’t shoot the film in this particular location is that it is now a national park and the risk of damage to the nature was too great.

In Rain and Sleet

The crew and the actors had three fun and hectic weeks on Grotli Mountain – no matter how bad the weather was, they were out filming all day long. The weather did create some challenges as they experienced both sunshine and zero visibility because of snow and foggy weather.

The Human Refrigerator

The reason they had to shoot in a refrigerated room in Sweden was because of authenticity. Also, all the actors had to wear the same costumes as in Norway and that was fine when filming in snow and icy winds, but it would have given them heat strokes if they wore it indoors on a set.

Comrade Screening

The crew and the staff of the hotel were shown a 15 minute screening from the film, possibly the same which was shown at Cannes Film Festival earlier in the year. It was very well received by everyone – and it has great promise to become the excellent film that we’re all excited to see.

The word is that the film will premiere in March 2012, but this has not been confirmed by anyone official yet. It’s safe to say that we’re all anxious to see the result of the hard work in Norway’s wilderness.


On our final day in Norway, we decided to make a stop at The Armed Forces’ Aircraft Collection at Gardermoen, where Rupert, Petter Næss and the rest of the cast had their first press conference about Into the White. The collection of old planes was quite incredible and it was cool to be standing in the very spot where the “comrades” stood – the place where the entire journey began 🙂

Check out the rest of the pictures from our Into the White adventure here

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