Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. and European pay-TV company Sky are partnering on a major original drama series, “Britannia,” the first co-production between the companies. The 10-part series has been written by Jez Butterworth, whose stage play “Jerusalem” won a Tony for Mark Rylance, and whose movie credits include “Spectre,” Johnny Depp’s “Black Mass” and Tom Cruise’s “Edge of Tomorrow.”
The series will star Kelly Reilly (“True Detective,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Bastille Day”), David Morrissey (“The Walking Dead,” “The Hollow Crown”), Zoe Wanamaker (“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” “My Family”) and Stanley Weber (“Outlander”).
The show is set in AD 43 “as the Roman imperial army returns to crush the Celtic heart of Britannia — a mysterious land ruled by wild warrior women and powerful druids who can channel the powerful forces of the underworld,” according to a press statement. “Arch-rivals Kerra (Reilly) and Antedia (Wanamaker) must set their differences to one side in order to combat the terrifying Roman invasion, led by the towering figure of Aulus Plautius (Morrissey), as it cuts a swath through the Celtic resistance.”
Butterworth said: “Besides being hard, hard warriors, the Celts have a belief system which makes them almost invincible. It’s a deep, heavy magic. Last time the Romans tried to invade, the mighty Julius Caesar took one look, turned round and went straight home. Now, almost a century later, the Romans are back.”
He added: “Here we have a war between two pantheons — the Roman gods vs. the Celtic gods….And we see it all from a human perspective, of individual survival, ambition, courage, lust, loss, revenge.”
“Britannia” is shooting on location in Prague and Wales, and will air on Sky 1 in the U.K. and Ireland, and be available on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. next year. The international distribution rights (excluding the U.S.) for “Britannia” will be handled by Sky Vision.
Vertigo Films’ James Richardson (“Monsters,” “Bronson”) will executive produce with Pippa Harris and Nicolas Brown from Neal Street Productions (“Penny Dreadful,” “Call the Midwife”), and Anne Thomopoulos (“Rome,” “Band of Brothers”). It will be produced by former “Star Wars” producer Rick McCallum; Jez and Tom Butterworth (“Fortitude,” “Tin Star”) will lead as writers with Richard McBrien (“Spooks,” “Merlin”).
“Britannia” was commissioned by Sky’s head of drama Anne Mensah, commissioning editor Cameron Roach, and director of Sky 1, Adam MacDonald, alongside Roy Price, vice president, Digital Video and Amazon Studios.
“Britannia” joins 12 original drama series already on air or set to air over the next couple of years on Sky’s premium drama channel Sky Atlantic and general entertainment channel Sky 1, including “The Young Pope,” “Guerrilla,” “Tin Star,” “Jamestown” and “The Last Dragonslayer,” as well as returning series including “Fortitude” and “Agatha Raisin.”
In the U.S., “Britannia” adds to a growing roster of Amazon original drama series, including “The Man in the High Castle,” “Bosch” and “Hand of God,” as well as upcoming series “Goliath,” “Good Girls Revolt,” “Sneaky Pete” and “Patriot.”
Kelly Reilly is repped by ICM Partners and Troika.