In 1944: Left to Right: Crown Prince Olav, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, Eleanor Roosevelt, Crown Princess Martha, and Thomas J. Watson.
I don’t know how many readers of this blog are not also my friends on Facebook. If you’re one of those, you’ve gotten this news already. But if you’re not, I now have clearance to tell you about one of the translation projects I’ve been working on. It’s a miniseries called Atlantic Crossing, and shooting begins in December. Here’s a fresh article from Variety, announcing the casting of Kyle MacLachlan as President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The story is about the Norwegian royal family during World War II, focusing primarily on Crown Princess Martha, who was married to the future King Olav V of Norway, and mother to the current king, Harald.
After the German invasion, Crown Prince Olav and his father, King Haakon, fled into exile in England. Martha took the children to neutral Sweden, her native country, where her uncle was king. But the machinations of the Nazis there led her to make the “Atlantic crossing” to the U.S. There she was welcomed by President Roosevelt, already a friend. Roosevelt enjoyed her company very much – which gave her the opportunity influence him to assist the Allies while the U.S. was still neutral. Much of the drama of the series involves the way Martha, a shy woman, moved out of her “comfort zone” to champion the Allied cause.
The issue that will probably raise the most public interest, though, is the question of Martha’s exact relationship with FDR. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s marriage was well known to have been in name only, and Franklin loved the company of women. There are many rumors about affairs, and Martha is the subject of some of them.
I suppose, conceivably, I may make the king of Norway my enemy forever through being part of this project, raising questions about his mother’s faithfulness. The subject is certainly a part of the narrative, but I will provide no spoilers about how the matter is portrayed.
In photographs, Martha does not look particularly attractive. But by all accounts she was extremely feminine and graceful in her bearing, and very charming. I knew a woman very much like that once – she even resembled Martha a little – and she left a deep impression.
When Atlantic Crossing gets its IMDb page, I’ll be credited as a translator. Among other tasks, I did the final polish on the first four episodes (out of eight in total). How it will be distributed has not yet been announced.