HBO Europe is moving into originals in the Nordics with “Gosta,” a comedy drama about a child psychologist who moves from the city to small-town rural Sweden. He sets out to be the kindest person in the world, with both good and bad consequences.
“I want ‘Gosta’ to be a mix of comedy and Dostoevsky: as funny as possible and as serious as possible,” said Lukas Moodysson, the Swedish filmmaker behind the series. It is his first effort in TV, and he has written all eight episodes and will direct. Memfis Film will produce the series, and Lars Jönsson, Moodysson’s long-term collaborator at Memfis, will produce.
The series shoots in Sweden next year, before a 2019 release on HBO Europe’s channels and digital services. TrustNordisk will distribute “Gosta” outside HBO Europe’s footprint.
The project is a landmark for HBO as its first commissioned drama series out of Scandinavia. It has been pushing into originals in Central Europe and is expected to do the same in Spain, as it beefs up its SVOD and linear TV offering in Europe under the stewardship of programming chief Antony Root.
The Nordics has become an increasingly competitive landscape for premium drama with local and global streaming services such as Netflix, Viaplay and CMore which are ramping up commissions of upscale series and tapping into Scandinavia’s growing talent pool.
HBO is following the footsteps of Netflix which announced two weeks ago that it had commissioned its own first Swedish original series, “Quicksand,” by Camilla Ahlgren, the writer of “The Bridge.”
“Lukas’ unique voice has established him as a leading filmmaker both in Sweden and worldwide, and his vision for this series makes it a perfect fit as our first original commission from HBO Nordic,” Root said. “The unlikely hero at its heart will not only be recognizable to our Swedish audience, but will have resonance with our audiences across Europe,and internationally too – everyone will be rooting for Gosta.”
Hanne Palmquist, commissioning editor and VP of original Programming, HBO Nordic, added: “‘Gosta’ is an insightful, fun, multifaceted and bittersweet story that says a lot about the time we are living in, in a way only Lukas can say it. I’m so very pleased to welcome Lukas and Lars to HBO Nordic.”
Elsa Keslassy contributed to this report.