The Netflix drama 22 July chronicles the 2011 Norway massacre hat left 77 dead when a far-right extremist detonated a car bomb in Oslo before carrying out a mass shooting at a teen leadership camp on the nearby island of Utoya. During Deadline’s The Contenders Los Angeles recently, editor William Goldenberg discussed how he and director Paul Greengrass adapted the real-life tragedy and its aftermath while taking care not to exploit the incident and those involved.
“The thing we always talked about was restraint,” Goldenberg told the packed crowd of Academy and guild voters at the DGA Theater. “We wanted people to be able to watch the film — it’s a very difficult film even as it is. In every situation, we tried not sensationalize anything. We just tried to be truthful and respectful.”
Goldenberg said they did not want to go big and grand with this film, and the were sure to respect and honor members of the Hanssen family, who survived the deadliest attack in Norway’s history. “Everybody in this film is a real person,” said Goldenberg. He adds the filmmaking team wanted to “show the heart of this family, which is representative of Norway.”
22 July is Greengrass’ first Netflix project, and it was a conscious choice for the Oscar-nominated filmmaker. Goldenberg explained the film could have been released to art house theaters around the country, but the reach wouldn’t have been wide enough. Greengrass wanted it on Netflix because he wanted people — specifically young people — to open their eyes and see these tragedies are happening all over the world.
But through the tragedy, Goldenberg wanted a particular message in the film to shine through: “The message is love really conquers hate.”
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