Sjur Vatne Brean and Erik Hivju play Gunnar Sønsteby in the Norwegian World War II drama No. 24

23 January 2024

During World War II, Gunnar Sønsteby was agent No. 24 and Norway’s greatest leader of the resistance movement. After the war, he devoted his life to meetings with young people, and messages about protecting freedom and democracy. The upcoming feature film No. 24 (original title: NR 24), tells the story of both chapters in his life, with Sjur Vatne Brean (24) and Erik Hivju (76) in the roles of Sønsteby. No. 24 is directed by John Andreas Andersen (The Burning Sea, The Quake) and produced by Motion Blur.The script is written by Erlend Loe, based on the original script by Espen von Ibenfeldt. No. 24 is distributed by SF Studios and will premiere in Norwegian cinemas on October 30, 2024.

The feature film is currently shooting in Norway and the lead role is played by shooting star Sjur Vatne Brean (Rådebank, Three Wishes for Cinderella, Viking Wolf), in his first leading role in a movie.

“We look closely at the extreme life that young Gunnar lived during the war, and the journey from auditor's assistant to Norway's most wanted man. He had a long list of aliases and slept in different apartments every night, with the hand grenade under his pillow. It is this young Gunnar, who is played by Sjur, who gives a role performance that has given us goosebumps during the shooting”, says director John Andreas Andersen.

Now it has been revealed that the audience will also meet an older version of Gunnar in the film: the 76-year-old Norwegian actor Erik Hivju (Makta), will portray an older version of Norway's most decorated citizen.

“Sønsteby is best known for the spectacular sabotage actions, but his efforts after the war were also invaluable. He spoke to young people across the country about the importance of fighting for peace, freedom and democratic values. In our film, the choices he made during the war are also challenges that young people today face. We found this Gunnar, an open and thoughtful communicator that has lived and learnt from life, in Erik Hivju”, Andersen continues.

Erik Hivju has been employed at the Norwegian National Theater since 1968 and has had prominent roles in films such as The King’s Choice and Max Manus: Man of War. He took on the Sønsteby role with great interest:

“I have always been interested in history and know the great achievements of "No. 24". It is a great honor to be able to portray Gunnar Sønsteby in a chapter of his life that deserves more attention - and especially nowadays. More than ever, it is important that we are reminded of the values ​​that Sønsteby stood for, says Erik Hivju.

The principal shooting is now in the final phase, filming scenes in Sønsteby's hometown Rjukan. The iconic statue of Sønsteby stands in the square in Rjukan to this day and a similar statue can be found in Oslo.

“It has been special for us to end the shooting here, close to Gunnar's roots. After hard-working weeks with temperatures down to minus 30, we feel that we have succeeded in giving life to the unique script Erlend Loe has written, based on the original script by Espen von Ibenfeldt. Now we will go into the editing room with great faith that we are about to create something very special for the Norwegian cinema audience”, says producer Terje Strømstad.

No. 24 is produced by the production team behind the successful Norwegian Netflix film Troll, Kristian Strand Sinkerud, Terje Strømstad and Espen Horn at Motion Blur, together with the internationally acclaimed producer John M. Jacobsen (Max Manus: Man of War, The Heavy Water War) at Filmkameratene. The production companies Motion Blur and Filmkamratene are partly owned by SF Studios, that also distributes the film.

No. 24 will have its theatrical release in Norway on October 30, 2024.

About Gunnar Sønsteby
Gunnar Sønsteby is Norway's most decorated citizen of all time and is a representative of our brave resistance heroes from the World War II. He was known under cover names such as "Kjakan" and "No. 24". Sønsteby is the most highly decorated Norwegian officer from the Second World War. He is the only person to have received the War Cross with Swords three times. In the last years of his life, Sønsteby spent a lot of time traveling around and giving lectures, especially to schoolchildren.

For more information, please contact:
Silje Nikoline Glimsdal, Senior Acquisition Manager, SF Studios, silje.glimsdal@sfstudios.no, +45 244 00 802
Malin Strihagen, Vice President Brand & Communications, SF Studios, malin.strihagen@sfstudios.se, +46 70 780 39 35

About SF Studios
SF Studios is one of the world’s oldest film companies and is celebrating 100 years in 2019. Today SF Studios is the leading film studio in the Nordic region with its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden and offices in Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki. The company is producing and distributing feature films and TV series as well as providing the streaming service SF Anytime. Alongside its own production operations including Paradox, SF Studios owns the production companies FLX and Motion Blur, and is part of the leading Nordic media company Bonnier.

About Motion Blur
Motion Blur Films was founded in 2012. Latest productions include Troll (2021), Cadaver (2020), Amundsen (2019), The 12th Man (2018) and the TV-series Oil Fund (2018). Motion Blur’s goal is to be the Scandinavian leader in producing genre movies and TV-series for an international audience. Motion Blur is partly owned by SF Studios.