Norway’s royal family thought that neutrality would protect their nation from hostile takeover, but they were caught unawares when the Germans invaded in 1940. A new historical dramatization, Atlantic Crossing, recently debuted on NRK, Norway’s National Broadcasting Corporation. The epic Norwegian-American production finds Crown Princess Märtha (played by Sofia Helin of The Bridge) and her three children fleeing Norway to find political refuge in the White House. Märtha forges a close friendship with Franklin Delano Roosevelt (played by Emmy-nominated Kyle MacLachlan of Twin Peaks) and helps steer Norway’s destiny.
Not content to settle for her own safety while her country is under occupation, the glamorous and politically-savvy princess delivers stateside speeches against the Nazis and charms FDR, enlisting his reluctant support on behalf of Norway and eventually Europe. Both Eleanor Roosevelt (Harriet Sansom Harris) and Crown Prince Olav (Tobias Santelmann) are tested as they witness FDR’s affection for Märtha and the influence she wields with him.
Screenwriter Alexander Eik said that when he first learned of the little-known friendship between FDR and the Crown Princess, he thought the series could offer a fresh perspective on World War II. Set in the US, UK and Norway, the show takes viewers on a voyage across the Atlantic and back with the royals, offering a chance to view key historical figures portrayed as real people. Shot in Norwegian, English and Swedish, the film has the highest-ever budget of any Scandinavian TV series.
Sofia Helin said that she prepared for her role by studying Norwegian for over a year. As there was limited archival footage of the Swedish-born princess’ expressions and body language, Helin trained on royal manners and comportment at the palace in Stockholm.
PBS Masterpiece has picked up the 8-hour series for US release in Spring 2021. Atlantic Crossing will appeal to fans of historical dramas. View the trailer