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.
Millennium Trilogy producer Yellow Bird is embarking on a 10-part original series based on an idea by bestselling Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbø. International drama Occupied is a political thriller set in a not so distant future where Russia has staged a “silk-glove” invasion of Norway to officially secure the oil import for the rest of the world. The series looks at what happens to a nation under such an invasion.
Developed by Yellow Bird and Nesbø, Occupied will be co-produced with Zodiak Media’s French drama outfit GTV for Norway’s NRK and French/German channel Arte. Erik Skoldbjaerg, writer/director of the original Insomnia and director of Prozac Nation, will helm the first two episodes. Norwegian writer Harald Rosenloew Eeg is also on the the English-, Norwegian- and Russian-language project.
NBC has given a pilot order to drama I Am Victor, from former …
Former House executive producer Katie Jacobs has teamed with bestselling Norwegian novelist Jo Nesbo for I Am Victor, a drama at NBC. The project, based on Nesbo’s book, has some of House‘s DNA as it is described as “House as a divorce attorney”. Mark Goffman is writing, with Nesbo, Jacobs and Television 360′s Daniel Rappaport and Meghan Lyvers and Niclas Salomonsson executive producing for Universal TV, the studio behind long-running Fox medical drama House.
EXCLUSIVE: In an auction that had keen interest and bids from multiple studios, Warner Bros acquired screen rights to The Son, the latest thriller by bestselling Norwegian novelist Jo Nesbo. Kevin McCormick’s WB-based Langley Park will produce.
The novel, which will be published by Knopf in 2014, focuses on a young man who is in prison because he took the rap for crimes that others committed. The thriller starts as the young man’s father, who is said to be a corrupt cop, commits suicide. When the son learns that his father was actually an honest man who was murdered, he escapes to avenge the killing. Along the way, he also begins to rectify the crimes to which he confessed. Nesbo and Niclas Salomonsson will be exec producers.
EXCLUSIVE: An American version of Norwegian bestselling crime author Jo Nesbo’s new TV series Occupied is being talked about. That’s what I’m told by Swedish producer Marianne Gray, who gave the keynote speech at the Film London Production Finance Market this morning. American actors and a U.S. director are also being considered for the 8-episode Norwegian TV series, which is awaiting a green light from state broadcaster NRK. Then there’s Nesbo’s novel Headhunters, which played at the BFI London Film Festival last night. The U.S. version is being adapted by Summit Entertainment as a $30M-40M movie and is now out to writers. Working Title is separately developing a feature film version of The Snowman, another bestseller by Nesbo whose books starring detective Harry Hole have sold 9 million copies worldwide.
There are parallels here to the way Hollywood has been got for Steig Larsson’s crime novels. Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which Yellow Bird made into a feature film, has been remade by Sony and David Fincher. The Swedish version has grossed $104 million worldwide — $10 million of that in the U.S. alone, which is almost unheard of for a subtitled film. The Stockholm-based Yellow Bird also made TV versions of the other two books and Music Box released them as feature films. Then there’s the original Swedish TV version of local detective Wallander, which the BBC has remade starring Kenneth Branagh. Yellow Bird co-produced the UK version with Left Bank Pictures too. Its own $5 million feature-film adaptation of Nesbo’s Headhunters, about a thieving corporate headhunter who steals a client’s valuable painting, has been picked up by Magnolia for U.S. release later this year. Gray revealed that Nesbo may write a sequel to his original Headhunters novel. Occupied is set in the near future: Russia has invaded Norway’s oil fields and the country is under occupation.
EXCLUSIVE: Working Title Films has landed screen rights to The Snowman, the Jo Nesbo novel that is the latest in a bestselling detective series that has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide. The book is currently at the top of the UK bestseller lists and will be published by Knopf in the US next spring. Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce, and the author and Niclas Salomonsson will be executive producers. The author, who has turned down numerous film offers for the book, was repped in the deal by Sylvie Rabineau and Salomonsson. The book is set on Oslo and is the latest in a mystery series revolving around detective Harry Hole. A woman is missing and her pink scarf turns up as an accessory that has been wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman that someone has built nearby. As the detective investigates, it appears it might be the work of a serial killer. It’s the seventh novel in the Harry Hole series for Nesbo.