Renny Harlin, one of Finland’s most successful exports to Hollywood having helmed the likes of Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Deep Blue Sea, is switching to his native language for his latest project, the third chapter in the highly successful comedy series Class Reunion.
The project is aiming for a late June production start date in Finland, local producers Solar Films told Deadline. This will be dependent on cast availabilities and ongoing consultation regarding COVID-19 safety, they outlined. The project could become of the first European features to roll cameras since the near-global production shutdown caused by the pandemic.
Finland has managed to largely contain the coronavirus spread, recording 320 deaths to date, which despite its fairly small population of 5.5 million still looks favorable in comparison with other European nations.
Class Reunion 3 will shoot with various COVID-19 safety measures in place, including having a specifically allocated person to supervise regulations on set, such as distancing, hygienic regulations, and meal service. Harlin is also planning digital solutions for scenes that would require actors to be in immediate or close proximity, the producers noted.
The pic will star Jaajo Linnonmaa, a popular radio host in Finland, local celebrity actor Aku Hirviniemi, and famous standup comedian Sami Hedberg. It was written by Renny Harlin and Mari Perankoski and will again follow the exploits of three former school friends who are brought back together by a later-in-life event.
Class Reunion is a remake of the hit Danish movies series Reunion. The Finnish versions have been successful at the local box office, recording more than 800,000 admissions and some $9.5M box office.
Producers are Markus Selin and Jukka Helle at Helsinki-based Solar Films. The plan is to release the movie in spring 2021.
“My first love in life has always been movies. My second love is Finland. I’ve been living in Hollywood and Beijing for the last 35 years, making 22 movies,” said Harlin. “I felt that this summer was the perfect time to return to my roots and make a beautiful, no holds barred madcap comedy, with a bunch of old friends. I made the decision well before the coronavirus changed the world. Now that I’ve spent the last two and a half months in Finland, I’ve really had time to rediscover this beautiful country, settle down for some great creative time and write two screenplays, while doing virtual preproduction on Class Reunion.”
“Just very recently we switched to in person production meetings and scouting and casting. We use masks and keep safe distances,” he said on the production. “It’s all a matter of adjusting to the situation and making the best out of a challenging environment. I look forward to an exciting summer shoot in the beautiful, clean and safe environment of my homeland. Later on in the year, I can’t wait to return to China and continue where we left off with my company, Extraordinary Entertainment.”
Harlin’s films have accounted for more than $1.1BN global box office. His recent projects include Skiptrace with Jackie Chan, which grossed $130M in China. Class Reunion 3 is his first film in Finnish.
Solar Films is owned by a Scandinavian media company Egmont and Markus Selin.
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