ICELAND – In Netflix’s Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Will Ferrell plays Lars Erickssong, an Icelandic fisherman’s son who’s dreamed his entire life of winning Eurovision. Now middle-aged, he’s stuck playing the local bar with Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams), who’s “probably not” his sister. There, angry locals who refuse to listen to Fire Saga’s original compositions instead demand endless renditions of a local novelty hit, “Jaja Ding Dong.” When a bureaucratic snafu (and maybe some help from elves) sends Fire Saga to Eurovision, Lars gets the chance to show his disapproving father (Pierce Brosnan) back in Husavik that he really does have what it takes.
As it happens, before Eurovision 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19, one of the favourites to win the competition was this year’s actual Icelandic entry, led by 27-year-old Daði Freyr Pétursson. Last winter a video of Daði and his group Gagnamagnið (made up of his wife, his sister, and some friends) performing their entry “Think About Things” went viral. The song is wildly catchy, and the performance—with its choreographed dance moves, its coordinated jumpsuits, and the charismatic 6’9” Daði’s knowing attitude—was the overwhelming winner at Söngvakeppnin, the Icelandic contest to determine the country’s Eurovision entry. The 2020 Eurovision representative Daði spoke about Will Ferrell’s version of Iceland, how his weird little group became a betting favourite, and why he doesn’t feel too bad about Eurovision getting cancelled.
Speaking about eh role of Lars, Daði says that it was surreal to see his life passing by the movie: “I sent in a song in 2017—not as a joke, but I thought it was something interesting to try. It was very odd how it happened. I sent in a song in 2017—not as a joke, but I thought it was something interesting to try. And it was accepted. First I was going to get a friend of mine to sing the song, but he bailed on me after two or three weeks. So I just decided to do it myself. Because you can have six people on stage, I decided, of course, I’m going to bring as many people as I can, because it’s gonna be more fun.”
Regarding the presentation of Icelandic people, the 2020 Eurovision singer said: “The way Icelanders are portrayed in the movie is very inaccurate. We come out as super intolerant, closed-minded, angry people, but I found that to be pretty funny. I don’t think people are going to think that’s how Icelandic people are.”
The singer also commented on the conspiracy theory that NETFLIX wanted to make Iceland win Eurovision 2020: “That was super funny to me. There were a lot of people who were rooting for other contestants in the Icelandic competition and somehow couldn’t believe that the song was good and the performance was good and people just enjoyed it. They became convinced Netflix was pulling the strings.”
Discussing the cancellation of Eurovision and therefore his participation, the singer said: “Watching the movie didn’t change how I feel about not competing in Eurovision. I wanted to experience it with all my friends. Because we’re not an actual band. We don’t play concerts in real life. It was going to be a really nice thing to do with those guys, but the song has gone way further than I ever thought it was going to go, even if we had completed.”
Daði Freyr also comments the participation of Pierce Brosnan, something that internationally has been negatively criticized: “He did not do so good! It was so funny too, the first scene in the movie, all of these Icelandic actors speaking perfect Icelandic, and then you see him. I had to turn on the subtitles to understand him. He tried! Haha, it doesn’t really change anything if he has a good pronunciation.”