×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Berlinale: Baltasar Kormakur Sets Volcanic Drama ‘Katla’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Baltasar Kormakur, the maker of “Everest” and “Trapped,” is prepping “Katla,” a supernatural thriller drama series centering on the famous volcano of the same name in southern Iceland.

The dystopian series is set in Reykjavik, in a near future where Katla has been erupting for two years, causing damage, health hazards, alarming mutations and strange events. A large-scale crisis breaks out and brings together scientists from abroad who converge on the Icelandic capital.

Studiocanal, Beta Cinema and Cinemax are already circling “Katla,” sources say.

The series will shoot in English and Icelandic. Kormakur said he is seeking an international cast to play scientists and foreigners in Reykjavik, his hometown.

“Iceland provides a compelling backdrop for a series like ‘Katla,’ because it’s a country which only has 300,000 inhabitants and draws over 2 million tourists each year. So a natural disaster of that scope would have a massive impact,” he said at the Berlin Film Festival.

The series is based on a real threat. Increased earthquake activity has been detected around Katla since the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, ash from which closed European skies to air traffic for days, causing huge travel and commercial disruptions. Icelandic President Ólafur Grímsson warned then that “the time for Katla to erupt is coming close.”

The series will likely shoot at Kormakur’s upcoming film studio, which will be part of a 40,000-square-meter media center located in Reykjavik.

Kormakur created “Katla” and will direct at least the pilot, as well as produce via his Icelandic banner RVK Studios. Kormakur said he was interested in replicating the same model that he used on “Trapped,” which enlisted up-and-coming directors, from Iceland and beyond, to work on the show.

The next film Kormakur is directing is “Adrift,” a true story of survival at sea starring Shailene Woodley. The film is being repped by STX Entertainment.

A rare example of a European director who has had two back-to-back No. 1 movies at the U.S. box office – “Contraband” and “2 Guns” – Kormakur has what could be termed a “halfway” style: His films are mid-budget, and sometimes midway between Europe and the U.S. in their auteur-ish play on thriller or crime tropes. That can be attractive to companies looking to finance upscale TV dramas.

RVK Studios’ recent production credits include “The Oath,” which Kormakur directed and starred in. The movie turned out to be the top-grossing movie in Iceland last year. His 2015 movie “Everest” made over $200 million worldwide and topped Iceland’s box office in 2015.

More TV

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    WarnerMedia Pulls Out of Audience-Targeting Alliance Open A.P.

    WarnerMedia is going its own way when it comes to helping advertisers find specific groups of TV-watchers. The company, a founding member of the audience-targeting media alliance known as Open A.P., said Friday it would withdraw from the group, citing its desire to pursue its own strategy under owner AT&T. AT&T purchased Time Warner in [...]

  • BLESS THIS MESS - "The Chicken

    Listen: Lake Bell, Dax Shepard on Returning to Broadcast TV With 'Bless This Mess'

    Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s installment, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, chats with Lake Bell and Dax Shepard, stars of ABC’s “Bless This Mess,” which debuted on Monday. The show centers around a newly married couple, played by Bell and Shepard, who decide to ditch their shoebox New York City [...]

  • superstore renewed season 3

    'Superstore' Showrunner Justin Spitzer Steps Down as He, Gabe Miller, Jonathan Green Renew Overall Deals at UTV

    “Superstore” executive producers Justin Spitzer, Gabe Miller and Jonathan Green have all renewed their overall deals with Universal Television. In addition, Miller and Green will take over showrunner duties on “Superstore” while Spitzer — who also created the series — will shift to develop new projects for the studio beginning with the 2019-2020 season. “I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content