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Sky, Bavaria Greenlight $28-Million TV Version of U-Boat Drama ‘Das Boot’

Rupert Murdoch’s German pay-TV platform Sky Deutschland and German production house Bavaria Film have greenlit a 25-million-euro ($28.3-million) TV version of “Das Boot,” the hit 1981 movie about a German U-boat in World War II.

The eight-hour series is based on Lothar-Günther Buchheim’s novels “Das Boot” (“The Boat”) and “Die Festung” (“The Fortress”), which have been adapted by a writing team led by Tony Saint (“Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley,” “The Interceptor”) and Johannes W. Betz (“The Tunnel,” “The Spiegel Affair”). The series will act as a sequel to the film, picking up from events at the end of the pic.

The TV drama primarily focuses on the German perspective of events, but also includes the experiences of French Resistance and Allied forces in the war. Running through all the action is Buchheim’s central theme: the blind fanaticism that drives young men into a senseless war.

Christian Franckenstein, CEO of Bavaria Film, said in a statement: “Today, more than ever before, anti-war stories need to be told. The notions of war and terror are ubiquitous. The misguided actions of young men driven to commit acts of terror by false ideologies are obvious.”

Franckenstein added: “The 1981 film ‘Das Boot’ is unique, and we are approaching our work with the greatest of respect for this masterpiece. We want to build on the strong brand of ‘Das Boot’ and continue telling the story in a contemporary manner by making use of every filmmaking and storytelling technique available to us today.”

The series is expected to begin airing in 2018 across all the Sky territories: Germany, Austria, U.K., Ireland and Italy.

Oliver Vogel (“Dengler,” “SOKO Stuttgart,” “Dr. Klein”) and Moritz Polter (“Spotless,” “Crossing Lines”) are executive-producing for Bavaria Film. Marcus Ammon and Frank Jastfelder will oversee the production for Sky.

Carsten Schmidt, CEO of Sky Deutschland, said: “With ‘Das Boot — the Series,’ we have once again found a subjectmatter that fits Sky perfectly and will excite our customers… [It] is the next step into the field of original  fictional productions at Sky, and others will follow. Sky… continues its transformation into an entertainment brand for the entire family.”

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