I Know Who Dies.
April 13, 2016
The Icelandic hotel I work for has been catering the cast and crew of the TV show “Fortitude” for the past two weeks, and I’ve been lucky enough to be in the presence of some big names in the industry. However, we have all been sworn to secrecy about whatever we overhear or witness as filming for the second season continues. But I’ve recently been imbued with some knowledge that would make the producers of the show squirm: I know who dies.
As many readers know, writing is a hefty passion of mine that exists beyond the confines of this weekly column. I’ve written everything from novels to plays to poetry, and recently I’ve been interested in converting some of my creations into television and/or movie screenplays. So when I found a copy of a “Fortitude” script and shot list, I was faced with a dilemma.
Do I keep the script and learn from it, or do I return it to its rightful owners?
As I write these words, a moral struggle also plagues the Icelandic government. It’s a big deal here. Long story short, Iceland’s government is now crumbling.
Last month it was revealed via a Facebook status update by Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir, wife of Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson’s, that she owned an offshore shell company called Wintris Inc., which managed her inheritance assets. The multi-million-dollar company also bought bonds in a few Icelandic banks—the same banks that crumbled during Iceland’s 2008 financial crash.
Since his election, Gunnlaugsson has done much to uphold his vow of cracking down on foreign creditors. However, an information leak to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, now coined the “Panama Papers,” revealed that Gunnlaugsson is also listed as a co-owner of Wintris, Inc.
The PM denied any wrongdoing and initially refused to step down; until he did on April 7. The days leading up to his decision were full of protests in Reykjavik. One day as many as 22,000 protestors were at the footsteps of the Parliament building. That’s nearly twice as many protesters as there were in 2008 during the financial crash.
Now Iceland’s Pirate Party—a political party that champions tenets similar to Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialism—is enjoying a surge in popularity from Icelandic citizens hoping to extricate corrupt individuals from its government.
After Gunnlaugsson resigned, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, former minister of fisheries and agriculture, became Iceland’s new PM. However, this move is incredibly unpopular, as his appointment by the Iceland Government Coalition is seen as a simple reshuffle of the same deck. People are now demanding new elections and hoping the economy doesn’t collapse again as a result.
Back to “Fortitude”—I realize keeping the secret script to myself without returning it would be simply for my own gain and might get someone else, perhaps a forgetful lead actor, in trouble. It did, after all, reveal a character death, and in our information age, a spoiler of that magnitude would be devastating to the production.
I kept the script hidden as I considered what to do. Finally, I waited until some crew members were returning to the hotel for the night, and walked up to a stunt double (who looked remarkably like his Hollywood actor counterpart). I explained who I was and handed back the show’s holy grail. The man looked relieved and let out a puff of air, thanking me for returning it.
While me keeping a TV script is nowhere near as despicable as a government official hiding money away in an offshore account, it got me thinking—it would be nice if we lived in a world where more people were guided by morality, especially in politics. If anything, a person’s sense of morality should bear a healthier amount of fortitude.
(Originally published in Planet JH)