Alexander Rybak has a cameo role as himself in a medley with several other ESC artists in a “dream sequence” in the new Netflix movie.
This post is based on information and texts from several Norwegian newspapers, the Norwegian broadcaster NRK1, Wiwiblogs, The Wrap News and Alexander Rybak. Links at the bottom of the post. Pictures from by Clair Folger/Netflix. Translations by Jorunn Ekre and Tessa La, revision by Anni Jowet
For almost a year Rybak has kept it a secret that he will appear in the Netflix comedy “Eurovision Song Contest:The Story of Fire Saga” with Will Ferrell (52) and Rachel Adams (41). Rybak emphasises that it’s not a big scene he is part of.
The shooting took place during two days in London in September last year, but artists are used to keeping silent until the release dates.
– I have never felt like being an actor, but it is always fun to act as yourself, says Rybak to Dagbladet.
Rybak is comfortable with Ferrell making a parody of the phenomenon. Ferrell, who has a Swedish wife and is also a Eurovision fan, has also contributed to the script.
– They talked to me about both “Fairytale” and my participation in 2018. I understood that they weren’t faking their interest in Eurovision. They poke fun of it, but with a heart, says Rybak
– I think parody is wonderful when it’s done with heart. Especially the Russian character who was spot on!
Invitation by letter
Rybak received a letter from director David Dobkin asking if he wanted to be in the movie. Rybak says it was a great honour to be invited.
As a former winner, you are constantly invited back to this glorious universe. It’s good advertising for those considering signing up for MGP, he says.
– It was incredibly fun to become buddies with Will Ferrell and director David Dobkin. He is a wonderful director. I was very nervous about recording with a large crowd, but the director was a warm person and made me feel very calm and relaxed, says Rybak.
During the filming of the Eurovision movie, things weren’t too good for the 34 year old-mentally speaking, even if those two days ended up as a fairy tale. When Alexander Rybak (34) showed up at the film set, he was still taking sleeping pills and suffered from anxiety.
-It was like being invited to a ball. We filmed at a big castle, where the movies “Transformers” and “X-men” had also been shot. I had looked forward to introducing myself to the director David Dobkin and telling him I’m a big fan. But the filming took place during the evening, and I was still taking sleeping pills, Rybak tells.
When Alexander showed up at the shooting, it was an overwhelming set with 200 extras. They had begun the filming, when Dobkin (35) spotted Rybak and shouted “stop”.
-I had started to get a lot of anxiety, but suddenly the director ran passed the 200 extras and gave me the big hug. It was the greatest moment I had felt in a long time. For me it was therapy to meet this bunch.
-We’re several artists who appear in the dream sequence performing a medley. I have my violin with me and I was very happy about my place in between Ferrell and McAdams, says an excited Rybak.
The Eurovision crown prince tells that he got starstruck being on the same set as Will Ferrell.
– But Will is good at «ice breakers», and called my winning song something new every time we talked. He makes me laugh both in front and behind the camera, Alexander says.
Alexander describes Ferrell as a kind and intellectual conversationalist.
– When the cameras were off, he wanted to talk about violins. He has kids who are interested in music, and we talked about everything from Bach to Bocelli. It was calming.
The Norwegian broadcast NRK1 was present the first time Alexander saw himself in the movie.
The video clip was broadcast several times in the news the following days. The video has English subs. Source: NRK1
The movie was supposed to premiere in May 2020 during the Eurovision weeks. Alexander Rybak should have been on the red carpet there for the movie and looked forward to saying hello to Pierce Brosnan. But that never happened. Rybak was also supposed to take part in a great interval act in the final of the cancelled Eurovision Song Contest.
– I had been looking forward to going to the Netherlands and thought it would be my first job after rehabilitation. But when May was closing in, I felt I wasn’t weaned. The body was still hungry and it would have been difficult to sing in front of 200 million people.
Despite the fact that it was the Eurovision breakthrough that got Rybak on an unhealthy health trip, he loves the music contest and doesn’t rule out that he’ll participate as a contestant again.
But it will take some years before that happens again. When I join, I feel like I’m taking the place from someone else.
The Eurovision Song Contest is not very well-known in America
With the Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams comedy “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” now available on Netflix, it may be the first time most American audiences have ever heard of the actual Eurovision Song Contest, better known as simply Eurovision. And some may be wondering what, exactly, it is.
For Rybak, this means that the honour of the victory in 2009 lives on.
I feel they are discovering the competition at their pace. I get daily messages from new people from Americans who have watched YouTube and congratulate me as if I just won. It’s pretty surreal, he says.
Netflix last year acquired the U.S. VOD rights to the 2019 and 2020 competitions to go along with the new film, though this year’s competition was canceled due to the coronavirus. In the past, curious Americans have had to hunt for clips on YouTube or seek out a VPN to watch the competition from another country’s home broadcaster.
Former Eurovision Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand says that the EBU ‘may’ extend an invitation to the United States. But not until the American Song Contest is established. So maybe in some years ESC has taken the next step to become world wide as Alexander Rybak wished for in his newly interview with time.com
Alexander’s promotion of the coming movie, posted on his social media at the end of May.