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New Comedy ‘Land Ho!’ Takes Its Cues from Its Icelandic Locale

The writers/directors of the road trip comedy approached the country like their characters do: as tourists.

Set entirely in Iceland, Land Ho! is co-writers/directors Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens’s comedy about two older ex-brothers-in-law taking a road trip around the country. To make it, Katz and Stephens took full advantage of their location’s otherworldly landscape.

“I guess we really tried to view [Iceland] as tourists,” Katz tells Filmmaker Magazine. “We were outsiders here just as the characters were, and we tried to approach it as though we were tourists, in a way: what would they focus on? And I think, because of the nature of the story, it was appropriate to do it that way. Nothing in Iceland is as instantly recognizable as the Eiffel Tower, but if the movie was about Paris, I think we would probably have a bunch of shots of the Eiffel Tower. There’s a few different things that made Iceland appealing. One is that the obvious tourist stuff is actually really fun and cool, and it’s kind of a funny idea that they’ve read one guidebook, and that’s what they’re gonna go to. Another is that Iceland is this beautiful and majestic place, and contrasting that with the jokes.”

Iceland has become somewhat of a buzzy place for big-budget Hollywood movies as of late, with films like Oblivion, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Interstellar all shooting there. But even with a smaller budget, Katz and Stephens felt like it was a very welcoming place to shoot. “Of course we’re a lot smaller than Oblivion, or Interstellar, or other [American] movies that shoot there, but I think they’re really set up to encourage movies at all levels,” says Katz. “It’s somewhat uncommon for a movie of this scale to shoot there, but it’s a good place to shoot… they’re trying to encourage production, so they have a lot of infrastructure.”

Read the full story here.