Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga just hit Netflix last week, offering up hilarious musical comedy hijinks from star, co-writer and producer Will Ferrell and co. Many U.S. viewers may have stuck the movie on believing that Ferrell had invented the whole concept of an annual song competition that unites all of Europe but nope, it’s a genuine institution on the continent that’s been going since the 1950s.
Dan Stevens plays flamboyant Russian rock star Alexander Lemtov, the main rival to Ferrell and Rachel McAdams’ Icelandic singing sensation Fire Saga, in the movie and, as a native Brit, he’s always been familiar with Eurovision. However, while speaking to AV Club, he admitted that it’s a hard thing to explain to American audiences who’ve likely never heard of the phenomenon before, teasing that there’s a lot of wonderful weirdness out there that the film didn’t get the space to cover.
“It’s such a weird thing to have to describe to people who are in their adult years and have no concept of what it is. I think a few people have seen the trailer for this movie and thought that we made the whole thing up. They have their minds blown when there are literally hundreds of hours of footage of the competition going back decades. There’s some really weird and wonderful stuff out there that our movie just scratches the surfaces of, really.”
Ferrell has said that he first discovered Eurovision back in the 1990s through his Swedish wife and was instantly amazed that this enormous European cultural event, almost like a musical version of the Super Bowl, was completely unknown in the U.S. He came up with the idea to make a movie about it someday and, 20 years later, he finally has.
Slightly ironically, though, the year of the Eurovision film’s release is the first time in over half a century that the real contest has skipped a year, due to the pandemic. The movie was due to open in cinemas in May to coincide with the planned ceremony, but this was ultimately cancelled and it shifted to a Netflix release instead.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga has been getting some mixed reviews, but Netflix viewers seem to be taken with it. Not least Dan Stevens’ OTT performance as Lemtov. Check it out for yourself if you’ve yet to do so.