EXCLUSIVE: HBO has put in development Headhunters, an hourlong project based on the best-selling 2008 book by Norwegian crime fiction author Jo Nesbø. Alexander Woo will write the adaptation and will executive produce with HBO-based producer Carolyn Strauss for Swedish production company Yellow Bird Entertainment, which owns the rights to the book, and Lionsgate Television. Headhunters is a dark comic thriller centered on a corporate headhunter who becomes the hunted when his life and marriage are suddenly targeted by an unknown individual. Yellow Bird, which first produced a hit Scandinavian film based on the novel, sold the English-language movie rights to the book to Summit Entertainment in 2011, shortly after the book was published in the U.S. The rights transitioned to Lionsgate following the company’s 2012 acquisition of Summit, with the project morphing into a TV series. Yellow Bird’s Marianne Gray and Berna Levin also executive produce. Another Nesbø novel, I Am Victor, was adapted by NBC last season, with the project going to pilot starring John Stamos. It barely missed the cut for a series pickup and went through redevelopment before recently getting a pass by NBC. UTA-repped Woo most recently was an executive producer on another book-based HBO drama, True Blood. He is currently a consulting producer on TNT’s Legends and is writing The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks for HBO Films. UTA-repped Yellow Bird, producer of the Millennium/Girl with The Dragon Tattoo trilogy, recently teamed with Chernin Entertainment to develop another Swedish crime novel, The Swede, for 20th Century Fox TV and also has a drama adapted from Swedish author Liza Marklund at ABC with Peter Traugott’s TBD Entertainment. Nesbø is repped by Niclas Salomonsson.
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