Tom Cruise’s movie suffers a setback in Svalbard | Polarjournal
On Sunday, March 12, Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie were in Svalbard as Top Gun: Maverick was up for the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing and Best Sound for which it won a statuette. Image: Michael Wenger

Escaping from an enemy by clinging to the fuselage of a plane? What are Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie preparing for us on the set of Mission Impossible 8? In reality, we will not know the result of their initial plan that does not meet the environmental legislation of the archipelago.

Svalbard, a choice of location that did not bring Tom Cruise luck for the shooting of his new spy movie. Last Friday, the production teams put an end to the arm wrestling match they had started with the Norwegian Environment Agency and the Governor of the Svalbard archipelago. According to Svalbardposten, lawyers for Truenorth and Polar X, two polar logistics companies involved in the production of the Hollywood blockbuster, had launched a complaint procedure because the local authorities had refused them the right to film scenes of overflight of the archipelago.

The production company was to shoot the landscape, several landings and takeoffs with a Douglas DC-3, a World War II twin-engine transport plane, in the archipelago. They also counted on helicopter flights for action scenes. In a more advanced phase of the negotiation, the lawyers wanted to reduce their activity to 8 flights around the old Adventdalen Fjord airport. But nothing worked in their favor, the application did not fit with section 73 of the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act.

A jewel of nature

This part of the Norwegian archipelago’s legal framework regulates access to and passage through natural areas. Mobility must not harm, pollute or damage the environment unnecessarily. This also applies to the cultural heritage or the quietness of the wildlife. In the end, the producers withdrew their complaint, while a new negotiation meeting was to take place.

Who is this inflexible governor? Lars Fause, a law graduate from Tromsø, was assistant to two former governors between 2008 and 2010, Per Sefland and Odd Olsen Ingerø, during his legal career. The latter were senior police officers before taking over the governance of Svalbard, while Lars Fause left his position as the first prosecutor in the Troms and Finnmark regions to come to Longyearbyen.

The Governor of Svalbard is the highest ranking representative of the Norwegian government. He is both the chief of police and governor of the county. He assumes the functions of justice and security of civilians, but also other missions delegated from other departments. The protection of the natural heritage of the archipelago is one of the priorities of the policy of this region. Against all misconceptions, there are no more polar bears than inhabitants in Svalbard, but their presence is very remarkable. This jewel of nature could become a victim of its own success.

Camille Lin, PolarJournal

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