The Command (Kursk) Movie Poster

Trivia for The Command (Kursk)

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  • Based on Robert Moore's book "A Time to Die", about the true story of the 2000 Kursk submarine disaster.
  • Martin Zandvliet was hired by EuropaCorp to direct the film in August 2015, but he was replaced by Thomas Vinterberg in January 2016. In February 2016, Matthias Schoenaerts revealed to Belgian magazine De Morgen that he was going to re-team with Vinterberg for "Kursk" and will play the captain in the film.
  • This is the second collaboration between Thomas Vinterberg and Matthias Schoenaerts, the first was Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)
  • This is Thomas Vinterberg's fourth English-language film.
  • The film was scheduled to start shooting in September 2016, but had to be postponed due to Russia's defense ministry not issuing a permit for the shoot, which would run for about a month. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the ministry originally promised cooperation with the production, but reportedly grew concerned about granting access to classified information and locations. The shoot was then relocated to France and Belgium and commenced at the Naval base of Toulon, France on April 26, 2017.
  • Vladimir Putin's character was cut from the film before an actor was cast for the role. Putin, who was just three months into the job as Russian president when the tragedy occurred in 2000, was slated to appear as a supporting character in at least five scenes in the film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, EuropaCorp's president, Luc Besson, wanted to shift the story's focus to the rescue mission rather than the politics behind the disaster. One theory is that nobody at EuropaCorp wanted to be hacked. "Remember The Interview (2014)?", a source said, referring to the Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen-directed comedy that angered Kim Jong-un and is believed to have sparked the infamous Sony hack in 2014. Ironically, the Russian leader is sympathetically portrayed in the original Kursk script, which highlighted why he took the tragedy personally (Putin's father was a submariner).
  • This is the second of two films in which Matthias Schoenaerts plays a Russian character, the other is Red Sparrow (2018). He was cast in the latter after being cast in Kursk, although Red Sparrow was shot first.
  • This is the fourth film starring Matthias Schoenaerts whose score was composed by Alexandre Desplat. The others are Rust and Bone (2012), Suite Française (2014) (Desplat composed the theme for Schoenaerts' character, not the whole score) and The Danish Girl (2015).
  • Rachel McAdams was in talks for the role of Tanya Kalekov but turned it down.
  • This was Michael Nyqvist's final film. He died of lung cancer in June 2017, a month before shooting was finished. However, according to The Guardian, Nyqvist completed his scenes.
  • The song Enter Sandman, recorded for the legendary Metallica concert at Monsters of Rock in Moscow in 1991, goes on TV when the sailors embark on the Kursk. A big fan of the group he worked with, Thomas Vinterberg talks about the importance of this moment.
  • Several scenes were filmed in a real submarine; The Redoutable, which is in the City of the Sea of Cherbourg. Used for the long march of Mikhail through the various compartments of the Kursk, when the crew embarks for the maneuvers. The chief designer did not want to shoot in The Redoutable because the sub is noticeably of French design, but some set arrangements made it credible as a Russian vessel.
  • Most of the film was shot in Belgium, especially in the AED studios, in Antwerp, and in several natural settings. Three to four weeks of filming took place in France, mainly on military bases.
  • The film is shot in Scope format before the Kursk is bottomed, then switches to 1.66: 1 for the remaining scenes..
  • Production designer Thierry Flamand joins the adventure on the advice of German director Wim Wenders to director of photography Anthony Dod Mantle.
  • Thomas Vinterberg had the idea to make the character of Tanya a pregnant woman when he met Léa Seydoux, whose pregnancy was coming to an end.
  • Kursk is a long-standing project, which was put on stand-by for a while. Once relaunched, production was not easy for producer Ariel Zeitoun.
  • A mostly American cast was initially considered, although Colin Firth and Matthias Schoenaerts were already chosen. Finally, the producers and the director decided to make it a European project and proposed Léa Seydoux as the female lead.
  • Thomas Vinterberg had to move away from reality on certain points in order to bring a dramatic breath to his film.
  • It was Matthias Schoenaerts who submitted the script to director Thomas Vinterberg, after working with him on Far from the Madding Crowd (2015).
  • A video game Kursk by Jujubee was released on October 11, 2018.
  • Filming started at the Naval base of Toulon, France on 26 April 2017. Some scenes were filmed with Colin Firth at the commercial port of Brest, France between the 2 May and the 6th May 2017, including scenes aboard the rescue ship Atlantic Tonjer, serving as the Seaway Eagle. On 8 May 2017, it was reported that besides France, shooting will also take place in locations throughout Europe, including Belgium and Norway. On 12 July 2017 the crew was in Jette (Brussels) and scenes were filmed in "Salle Excelsior" (Place Cardinal Mercier).
  • The project was produced by France's EuropaCorp with Belgium's Belga Productions and Luxembourg's VIA EST.
  • Subject matter experts such as journalist Robert Moore, author of the novel upon which the film is based, along with David Russell, (Commodore, British Royal Navy who tried to save the men from Kursk), and submarine expert Ramsey Martin acted as advisors for the film.
  • Based on the 2000 K-141 Kursk submarine disaster, in which 118 Russian sailors died. Kursk sank during a Russian naval exercise in the Barents Sea after explosions within the submarine. Twenty-three sailors survived the crash and desperately waited for help to arrive while their oxygen ran out minute-by-minute. The Russian government refused help from foreign governments for five days before agreeing to aid from the British and Norwegian governments.
  • It is based on Robert Moore's book "A Time to Die: The Untold Story of the Kursk Tragedy", about the true story of the 2000 Kursk submarine disaster, which dissects the various scientific explanations as well as the last moments of the condemned submariners.
  • The Russian characters in the movie are mainly played by French, Belgian, German, Danish and Swedish actors. The only main Russian character actually being played by a Russian actor is Artemiy Spiridonov who portrays the son of Mikhail Averin.
  • The wristwatch conceit is scriptwriter's invention for effect: although somewhat cruelly ironic as it was surmised that real crew member Captain-lieutenant Dmitri Kolesnikov, wrote notes (recovered after the Kursk raised) which could only, likely have been written by the luminous dial of his wristwatch, since he 'wrote' the compartment was in complete blackness, yet recorded precise timings (two written messages noted at 13.15 and 15.15).
  • The depiction of head crew member Mikhail Averin (played by Mattias Schoenaerts) writing notes is based on the true recovery of such from the real life Captain-lieutenant Dmitri Kolesnikov's remains, when the Kyrsk was raised 14 months later. This indicates that there was likely no light in the final moments (cf. battery powered lights almost throughout shown in this film), which meant the 23 crew-members likely survived between just three to possible maximum six hours - although, note: Russian navy investigation also conjectured they could have survived for up to three days.
  • The film shows THREE attempts of the rescue submersible at attaching to the Kursk, but which, strictly, is untrue: although three excursions towards the stricken submarine were made (with two separate craft versions, the first damaged in approach), only one attachment attempt was made, but abandoned, as like is shown in the film, due to low battery power.
  • The film shows an Admiral, Petrenko (Max von Sydow) as heading the public information panel: in reality it was actually headed by the (just three months into position) then President, Vladimir Putin.
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