- The semi-final sequence contains several inaccuracies: Semi-finals don’t have a jury voting segment presented live. That happens only in the grand finale. Semi-finals only have the names of ten qualifiers read in random order. Spain, as a “Big Five” country (show’s biggest financial contributors), doesn’t compete in the semi as it’s pre-qualified to the finale every year by default. Swedish staging included seven people and the EBU’s rules limit it to six. For the fact that technical difficulties ruined their performance, Iceland would’ve been offered another take, regardless of the show being aired live.
- It would be quite the long journey to get from Lars and Sigrit’s hometown of Húsavík to Edinburgh. The bus to Reykjavík, including transfers, would take nearly 9 hours. The flight from Reykjavík to Edinburgh would take just over 2 hours non-stop.
- “Lars” is not a very common name in Iceland. It is, however, a common name in fellow Scandinavian countries Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. “Erickssong” would be Eiriksson, “Sigrit” would be Sigrid or Sigríður, and “Ericksdottir” would be Eiríksdóttir. “Helka” would be “Helga”.
- Although being set in Edinburgh, Scotland – the Eurovision Contest is hosted in the SSE Hydro Arena which is actually in Glasgow, Scotland.
- Beer was illegal in Iceland until 1989. Making Lars’s family either smugglers or criminals during their flashback scene staged in 1974 where they enjoy few bottles of beer while watching Eurovision.
- Rachel McAdams’ Sigrit should be in her early fifties based on the flashback scene taking place in 1974.
- Because Scotland is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest it means the UK won the competition the previous year. The UK has not won since 1997.
- When Alexander Lemtov played by Dan Stevens says null points for the UK because everyone hates them – this is harsh but fair. The UK has won 5 times in the past but not since 1997. Brits laugh about it but deep down it hurts. Though he might mean the 2003 case where the UK ended up with null points due to the launch of a war against Iraq by Tony Blair under false evidence of nuclear materials found in Baghdad.
Lars & Sigrit are repeatedly asked if they are brother & sister (to which Lars replies “probably not”). Near the end of the film (‘Sometime later’), we see Lars & Sigrit, together with their baby, performing at the wedding of Lar’s father & Sigrit’s mother which consequently makes them step-brother & step-sister.
Eurovision has a lot of archaic rules, mostly designed to keep an incredibly complex live TV show from going off the rails. Unencumbered by those constraints, the film takes a few minor liberties when it recreates the contest. Sweden’s act, Johnny John John, has seven performers on stage when the maximum is six (gasp!).
Lars’s piano is actually wired up and plugged in, so he can play live – which is actually forbidden (double gasp!).
And most egregiously of all, Fire Saga’s song Double Trouble lasts three minutes and 22 seconds, exceeding the maximum permissible length by almost half-a-minute. (Mér er ofboðið!)
Films often take liberties with the layout of a city, but Fire Saga really takes the biscuit (or in this case the Highland Shortbread). For a start, Dan Stevens’ character owns a lavish Scottish mansion that offers sweeping, panoramic views of Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh Castle. To get those views in real life, the castle would have to be located at the top of Calton Hill in the city centre – which would mean he’d built his house on a world heritage site, over the top of the Nelson Monument. (In reality, the mansion was Knebworth House, 367 miles away in Stevenage, and the backdrops were added in post-production.)
Causing more confusion for cartographers everywhere, the film’s performance segments were clearly filmed at Glasgow’s Hydro Arena – which has somehow been picked up and deposited at the end of George IV Bridge (which Ferrell apparently reaches via Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, on the other side of town).
When Terry Wogan stood down from the commentary box in 2008, after 35 years, few expected that Graham Norton would fit so snugly into his shoes. But no matter how dire a performance gets, Norton never talks over it, allowing viewers to absorb every excruciating moment. The film throws that rule out the window, however, and has Norton providing commentary for every act while they’re on stage. He even swears, which would get him into all sorts of trouble with Ofcom.
In an early scene, Lars and Sigrit are standing on the docks of their hometown of Húsavík in North Iceland, when two humpback whales breach the surface of the Greenland Sea and soar into the air. While they’re clearly CGI (the water would be too shallow), humpback and orca whales are common visitors to the area, and regular whale watching trips set sail from the nearby Skjálfandi bay.
You might also be surprised to learn that the film’s subplot about Elves who assist Fire Saga in their journey to Eurovision has some basis in fact. According to a 2007 study by the University of Iceland, more than 60% of the nation believes in the existence of Huldufólk, or hidden people, who occasionally lend a helping hand to humans.