World Cup: Baltasar Kormakur Screens 'Adrift' for Iceland Team Ahead of Crucial Croatia Game

Adrift Still 2 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of STX Films

"I'll take the credit if they win, not if they fail!" laughs the Icelandic director.

The Icelandic soccer team has been given an inspirational cinematic boost ahead of its crucial World Cup game against Croatia on Thursday, a match it must win (and see other results go its way) in order to progress to the next round. 

Adrift, the Shailene Woodley-starring disaster epic from arguably Iceland's most famous filmmaker, Baltasar Kormakur, was screened to the squad in Russia on the eve of the game.

"They need inspiration" Kormakur tells The Hollywood Reporter, adding that the film's real-life story of one woman's survival against all odds while near-shipwrecked and alone on the Pacific Ocean could give them the suitable drive to succeed. "I said to them, 'If you think you have your backs against the wall, have a look at this girl.'" 

Kormakur did a similar thing for the Icelandic team — the smallest nation by population to ever attend the World Cup — with his previous Hollywood title (and another real-life disaster epic), Everest, in 2015. "I think they were in Holland playing the final game of the European Championship qualifiers." 

Iceland stunned the soccer world with a 1-0 victory on Dutch home soil, helping secure it a place at the 2016 European Championships (again, the smallest nation to do so). 

"So hopefully we'll have that again," says Kormakur. "I'll take the credit if they win, not if they fail!"

Speaking to THR in London ahead of Adrift's U.K. release Friday, Kormakur admits that Iceland, despite managing to pull off a shock 1-1 draw against Argentina in its opening World Cup game, now has a "very narrow window" to continue to the final 16, having lost its second match against Nigeria and with Argentina looking determined to make up for its poor start to the competition. "But they have great spirit and big hearts," says the director.

A near-perfect 99.6 percent of TV-watching Icelanders tuned in to see the Argentina match, making it the country's most-viewed sporting event. But Kormakur says that this figure was topped by the his record-breaking show Trapped, currently in post on season two. 

"The ratings of the final episode was higher than the Argentina game," he says, while acknowledging that this was aided by the match being aired earlier in the day. "But if we could have been the final of the World Cup — or even get to the last 16 — I'm sure it would beat us."