Actor to star in $12 million TV production

Kenneth Branagh is set to star as fictional Swedish cop Kurt Wallander in a BBC adaptation of Henning Mankell’s bestselling crime novels.

Swedish production company Yellow Bird, owned by Zodiak Television, has sold the rights for three 90-minute features based on the novels “Sidetracked,” “Firewall” and “One Step Behind.”

The films will be made by Left Bank Pictures, producer Andy Harries’ shingle, along with Yellow Bird and Branagh’s as-yet-unnamed shingle.

BBC Worldwide, the pubcaster’s commercial arm, has a 25% stake in Left Bank Pictures.

The pics will be shot in Ystad, in the south of Sweden, during spring and summer. They will air on flagship BBC web BBC1.

Mankell’s books have sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, giving the dramas big global potential.

“Wallander” was commissioned by BBC Scotland head of drama Anne Mensah and BBC controller of fiction Jane Tranter.

Mensah said the “extremely ambitious” project is aimed at creating “a classic new detective character for British television.”

Yellow Bird has made 13 Wallander films for the Scandinavian market, three for theatrical release and 10 for TV.

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