'Tudors' showrunner teams with German partners

BERLIN

“The Tudors” showrunner Michael Hirst is joining Germany’s ZDF Enterprises and Munich-based Beta Film on “Alexander,” an English-language event TV series about the Macedonian king who conquered much of the known world in the third century BC.

Cologne-based Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion will also serve as a producer on the series, which will initially comprise eight-to-12 one-hour episodes, with the producers looking at a three-season run.

Gruppe 5 managing partner Uwe Kersken came up with the idea of the series, and is working closely with Hirst on the concept and the first scripts, with pre-production set for this year and production expected to begin in 2014.

Alexander the Great was one of the best warfare strategists ever, conquering the Persian Empire and expanding his father’s realm from Macedonia to Egypt and India before his death at the age of 33.

“Not many rulers are ever called ‘Great,’ ” said Hirst. “Alexander of Macedonia was the first, and is still probably the greatest. By the age of 33 he had explored and conquered most of the known world, and was already widely acknowledged to be a god. But for me, the fascination of this series lies in the character of the man himself. Taught by Aristotle, descended from Hercules, Alexander remained full of doubts, as well as questions about the nature and purpose of life. From ancient history he reaches out to talk to those who still dream of shattering the boundaries and limits of human experience.”

In addition to Showtime’s “The Tudors,” Hirst’s credits include “Elizabeth,” “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” and Starz’s “Camelot.”

Alexander has been the subject of a number of past films, including Oliver Stone’s 2004 “Alexander,” starring Colin Farrell, and Robert Rossen’s 1956 “Alexander the Great,” with Richard Burton.

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