Yet again, a “hot” Hollywood director–in this case Iceland import Baltasar Kormákur, who the studios value because he can handle global movie stars in action like Mark Wahlberg (“Contraband”) and Denzel Washington, who co-starred in “2 Guns”–is turning to television. And it just so happens that Scandinavia is where a lot of cool TV is coming from, including the original “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Killing” and “Wallender.” (My “The Deep” interview with Kormákur is here.)
The director feels strongly about fostering talent in his home country, where he is a rock star, and is using his Hollywood leverage back home, where he has founded a new production outfit (RVK Studios) and VFX company (Framestore is now called RVX), which handled the effects for Ryan Gosling’s new movie “How To Catch a Monster.” The world is flat and Kormákur maintains that he can do business anywhere as long as there is a phone, internet and/or Skype.
Kormákur is currently directing the epic adventure “Everest,” starring Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes and Jake Gyllenhaal for Universal Pictures, Cross Creek Pictures and Working Title Films, for release on September 18, 2015. He shot “The Missionary” with Wahlberg for HBO and is developing Haldor Laxness’ Nobel prize-winning book “Independent People,” which is beloved by Icelanders, as well as an authentic Viking seafaring adventure and a TV project that comes from a popular multi player online game called EVE. Kormákur has retained most rights to his Icelandic films, such as Iceland’s Oscar submission “The Deep,” for which he and WME brokered deals with all the territories including the US. So he got a big chunk of that money.
For RVK, Kormákur is set to produce and direct the original Icelandic crime series “Trapped” to shoot in Iceland this fall. He’s producing with RVK Studios’ Magnus Vidar Sigurdsson and RVX, which will design the visual effects. As exec producers, L.A. and Paris-based Dynamic Television’s Daniel March and Klaus Zimmermann will oversee worldwide distribution.
Based on an original idea by Kormákur and written by Sigurjon Kjartansson and Clive Bradley, “Trapped” is a procedural that follows the investigation of a nasty murder of an unidentified man found in the water shortly after an international ferry arrives in a small town at the bottom of a fjord. Then a blizzard hits the town, knocking out access to the only road in or out of the town.
“I developed ‘Trapped’ because I was fascinated with the idea of a terrible crime in a small town cut off from the rest of the world,” says Kormákur. “I am looking forward to putting a new spin on the Scandinavian crime genre for audiences around the world.”
“Trapped” will be 10 one-hour episodes for RUV, Iceland’s public broadcaster, and is the most ambitious Icelandic commission ever ordered. Dynamic will present the project to broadcasters at next week’s MIPTV.