Morten Tyldum to Direct Mats Steen Biopic Ibelin

by Susan Ryant

Academy-Award winning studio Vendôme Pictures ( CODA ) has announced a new drama feature Ibelin , an inspirational true story based on gamer Mats Steen. The upcoming feature is set to be directed by Academy Award nominee Morten Tyldum ( The Imitation Game ) and written by Kyle Killen ( Halo ).

Ibelin is based on Mats Steen, a gamer who died at the age of 25 from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Steen's tragic end was followed by an unexpected, heartwarming surprise. On the day of his funeral, people from all around Europe showed up to pay their respects and share stories of the love they had for Steen. Steen had left an impact on all of these people, with whom he shared an online community on World Of Warcraft , where he went by the username 'Ibelin'. Steen's parents believed their son had led an isolated life due to his disability, but the support at his funeral proved otherwise.

Morten Tyldum, director of Imitation Game, is directing the project. Tyldum's work on Imitation Game, a historical drama, based on mathematician Alan Turing, starring Benedict Cumberbatch ( Doctor Strange ) and Kiera Knightley ( Pride and Prejudice ), earned him a 2015 Academy Award nomination for best director. The director's other notable works are Passengers and Headhunters . Tyldum was inspired by the story, after he met with Steen's family.

"Ever since hearing about Mats and meeting his family, this is a story I felt needed to be shared with the world. Making this story into a film with such an extraordinarily talented writer as Kyle Killen (Halo), and producing together with the exceptional Philippe Rousselet (CODA) at Vendôme and my long time producing partner, Guri Neby (Imitation Game), feels like a dream." Tyldum said.

morten-tyldum-the-imitation-game Image via The Weinstein Company

Rousselet is a French film producer, whose first producer credit goes back to 1987 on Marie from the Bay of Angels , since then he has produced many projects both in France and the U.S., including CODA with Vendôme Pictures, on which he won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Rousselet also shares Tyldum's passion for the project, suggesting the project shares similar elements to CODA.

“Ibelin, like CODA was, is a very special, rare, simple and yet very moving story. I fell in love with it from the moment Morten and Guri told me all about Mats’ life story. Now, I just can’t wait to share it with the world and between Kyle and Morten, could not be more excited about our creative team.” Rousselet said.

Production dates are yet to be set for Ibelin, principal photography will take place in the U.S.