Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, at the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of his historical drama “Never Look Away,” Germany’s entry for the foreign-language film Oscar, is turning his sights to the small screen with a number of English-language series projects, including an adaptation of Belgian fantasy comic “Thorgal.”
The German director announced plans to adapt “Thorgal” two years ago but now tells Variety that it’s “high up on the priority list for the next project.” Created by Belgian writer Jean Van Hamme and Polish artist Grzegorz Rosiński, “Thorgal” follows the adventures of a mighty warrior who was raised by Vikings after crash-landing on Earth as an extraterrestrial infant.
“It’s something I’ve been passionate about for a long time,” Henckel von Donnersmarck says, adding that it took him a decade to land the rights. “Since it’s such a huge European property and such an exciting story, it was a long battle, but we finally won it.”
The filmmaker describes “Thorgal” as “an incredibly complex, beautiful and exciting universe.” He adds: “It would be too limiting to tell that as a movie. This is a more thought-out world than even something like ‘Game of Thrones,’ so I would be short-changing it by telling this in movie format.”
The helmer plans to head a writers’ room on the project and direct “as many of them as would be physically possible.”
He adds that the “Thorgal” stories “have been wonderfully developed in dozens of books. So much development has gone into these that we’re starting very much in the black in terms of storytelling.”
He plans produce the project via Munich-based Pergamon Film, the company he founded with Beta Film CEO Jan Mojto, and will focus on finding the right TV collaborators following the Venice and Toronto premieres of “Never Look Away.”
“We’re going to start talking and thinking about who will be our partners and whether we’re going to go the traditional television route or whether we partner with one of the OTTs,” he says.
Henckel von Donnersmarck also has a number of other projects in the works at Pergamon as well as at Allegory Film, the company he set up with Sam Raimi. In addition to two other series concepts that he has developed, he also has a feature film screenplay for a dramatic thriller “that is ready to go.”