This year's Eurovision Song Contest was canceled, but there is an American movie about the Eurovision Song Contest filled with some questionable accents. It's 2020. We take what we can get. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (out now on Netflix) stars Rachel McAdams and Will Ferrell as an Icelandic musical duo called Fire Saga, who get to represent their country in the beloved competition. While Ferrell's goofy singing voice is probably pretty recognisable when you hear it, McAdams is a more surprising choice for this film. But, McAdams actually does sing in Eurovision Song Contest. Just not by herself.
To achieve the voice of Fire Saga's Sigrit, McAdams' voice was combined with that of Swedish singer Molly Sandén. There are 12 original songs in The Story of Fire Saga, and according to the film's production notes, McAdams sings one of them entirely herself and sings the intro of several others before her voice is combined with Sandén's for the rest of the performance.
A video was released for the song "Volcano Man" prior to the movie's debut, and in an interview with Original Cin, McAdams gave credit to Sandén. But, it actually is Ferrell singing on the track himself. "It was just so cheesy and so fun and so campy," McAdams told the BBC of the song. "And then to hear Will sing it in his wonderful Will way just made it so much better."
The Story of Fire Saga filmmakers set out to include some very catchy, very over-the-top songs. This is the competition that launched ABBA — a catchy pop song is necessary. So, some experts were called in. The songs in the film come from writers including Savan Kotecha, the movie's music producer, who has written hits for Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, and One Direction, Jörgen Elofsson, who wrote Britney Spears' "Sometimes" and Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," and Andreas Carlson, who co-wrote *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye" and the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way."
While McAdams doesn't do all the singing herself, she did learn some guitar and piano and practice her Icelandic accent with help from one of the most famous Icelanders there is. "Fortunately I had been to Iceland not that long before," the actor told Original Cin. "So I kind of had a little bit of first-hand experience. And then I worked with an amazing dialect coach. I also watched about every interview Bjork has ever done, so I got to channel a little bit of her. She sort of has an essence about her that I thought was very similar to my character, Sigrit."
The movie was an exciting new genre for McAdams. "I have always dreamed of doing musicals," she said in the Original Cin interview. "But life doesn't always go the way you expect, so this was like my little girl childhood dream coming true. Getting to be on that stage and wearing the costumes was a dream." Plus, she helped get a song about a "tough volcano guy who needs love" stuck in people's heads.