EUFCN Location Award 2023 Finalist: Romsdalen Gondola

Norway’s captivating west coast serves as the stunning backdrop for multiple scenes in the fourth season of the Golden Globe-winning HBO series Succession, where Romsdalen Gondola stands out as a highlight for pivotal discussions between the Roys and Lukas Mattson.

Romsdalen Gondola is among the finalists of the EUFCN Location Award 2023, the annual prize for European filming locations organized by the European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN). The location was submitted by the Western Norway Film Commission.

Romsdalen Gondola ©Radka Honsova | Succession ©HBO Max / Warner Bros Discovery

The choice of Norwegian filming locations in season 4 of Succession lent a striking visual backdrop to the series. The rugged mountains, crisp architecture and dramatic fjords provided a compelling counterpoint to the opulence of the Roy family, enhancing the show’s thematic depth and serving as a metaphor for the rich terrain of human power struggles.

“Norway is a glorious, natural setting. It immediately felt like the perfect setting for a family gathering in the series,” remarked producer Scott Ferguson to Variety. While considering various countries, he and his team concluded that Norway possesses “an exceptional landscape unlike anywhere else in the world.”

Upon arrival in Norway, we find the Roys driving towards Romsdalen on the majestic Atlantic Road, a distinctive series of bridges spanning small islands and islets, right on the ocean’s edge. With its winding features, the road has been a favorite for numerous car commercials and also made an appearance in James Bond’s No Time to Die.

The Atlantic Road: Photo, Eline Fladseth, Visit Northwest

The drive continues as the Roys traverse one of Norway’s most renowned mountain passes – the Trollstigen serpentine road, featuring eleven hairpin bends – before arriving at Juvet Landscape Hotel and the Romsdalen Gondola.

“So, what the fuck is this place?” Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) asks Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) once on top of the Romsdalen Gondola.

The Romsdalen Gondola opened as recently as May 2021, and Succession is the first show to introduce the location to global audiences. The state-of-the-art electric cable car ascends 1679 meters up the mountainside. As you ascend, you traverse steep cliffs, rushing waterfalls, and lush green forests, with thestunning Romsdal Alps in the background. Notably, it’s Norway’s first gondola built on sustainability principles.

©Helge Gyldenås

In the show, the Romsdal Gondola seamlessly complements the Juvet Landscape Hotel, which is situated a 45-minute drive across the Trollstigen mountain road. The airing of Succession generated immediate excitement for the destinations featured in the show, and Knut Slinning, the owner of the family-run hotel, noted a massive 3600% increase in website traffic.

The Juvet Landscape Hotel is no stranger to film tourism, having featured as the main location in Alex Garland’s cult sci-fi Ex Machina.

Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) and Tom Wambsgate (Matthew MacFadyen) at Juvet Landscape Hotel. Succession ©HBO Max / Warner Bros Discovery

To manage the Norwegian shoot of Succession, production service company Truenorth Norway and lineproducers Per-Henry Borch and Tor-Arne Øvrebø were brought on board, supported by Norway’s 25% cash rebate. Steve M. Røyset, a location manager based in nearby Ålesund, oversaw the Norwegian locations.

Røyset’s work on Succession later earned him a nomination for the Location Managers Guild Awards, alongside fellow location managers Paul Eskenazi, Sue Quinn, Jean-Pierre Rahmat, and Carolyn Schultz, while Røyset’s location manager colleagues from Ålesund, Audun Skarbøvik, and Leo Resnes, received anomination for Troll.

“With its population of 45,000, Ålesund probably has the highest per capita density of LMGI Awards nominees of any city on the planet! All the major productions coming to Western Norway, from Dune, Black Widow and Mission: Impossible, to shows like Succession, are drawn here by our spectacular locations. To have experienced scouts and managers are crucial for a region such as ours” Sigmund Elias Holm at Western Norway Film Commission concludes.

The Trollstigen Mountain Pass

The European Film Commissions Network is a non-profit association that supports and promotes the European film industry and culture. It currently represents 99 European film commissions and film institutions from 31 different countries.