Selected as Norway’s Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film, Erik Poppe’s docudrama The King’s Choice made headlines last month when Norway’s Crown Prince and Crown Princess arrived in Toronto for a glitzy screening of the celebrated film. Breaking Norwegian box office records and making an impression stateside, The King’s Choice examines the events of April 9 1940, when the German war machine descended on the city of Oslo, leaving the Norwegian King with a disturbing ultimatum: to surrender or die.

Undoubtedly, this is the kind of larger-than-life conflict that movies are made of. Jesper Christensen and Anders Baasmo Christiansen star in Poppe’s film, from a script by Jan Trygve Royneland and Harald Rosenlow-Eeg. If The King’s Choice moves on to the Dolby Theater, it would be the sixth Norwegian film nominated, following 2012’s popular Kon-Tiki, and perhaps the first ever Norwegian film to take the Foreign Language Oscar.

Here celebrated Poppe joined Deadline senior editor Dominic Patten for a spirited conversation, following Awardsline’s presentation of the film. The filmmaker discusses working with actors in rehearsals and his methods in imbuing an epic historical drama with moments of life and truth.