Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have been involved in adapting Astrid Lindgren’s books for the screen. Besides the author herself, the two who have influenced the results more than any others are the producer Olle Nordemar and the director Olle Hellbom. The creative collaboration between Astrid Lindgren and Olle Hellbom was unique and, together, they made 17 films and TV-series. When he died from cancer in 1982, this is what she wrote about her dear director.
“Ollebom was his nickname. That was who you asked for when you wanted to get hold of him – and that was often. His real name was Olle Hellbom. For many that name only brings to mind a very skilful and competent man, in his field as a movie-maker. But for me, that name brings to mind a wise, faithful and absolutely irreplaceable friend.
When someone dies and leaves their place among the rest of humankind, there is an empty space which eventually gets filled, though, and isn’t so noticeable any more. But the stark emptiness after Ollebom – how will it ever be possible to fill that? We are many who are asking ourselves that question today.
He was a remarkable man, but it was as though he didn’t know it himself. A person less self-centred than he, I have yet to meet. He was totally unpretentious – never made a fuss over his own achievements, but was always ready to praise others.
Brilliant!’is what he would say when you showed him the result of your efforts. It was his favourite word, so there you were, walking around feeling brilliant. Until you eventually realised that if anyone deserved to be called that, then it was Olle himself. With his creative abilities, his ingenuity, his experience, his sound judgement, his wisdom and his humour. Besides, he was a good person – which is even better!”