You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nice Drama, Twelve Town Pitch ‘With One Eye Open’ at Series Mania

The series promises a fresh look at Sweden and its often tumultuous relationship with Russia

LILLE, France — Sweden’s Nice Drama and the U.K.’s Twelve Town, formerly Pinewood Television, have purchased the rights to Martin Österdahl’s bestselling Max Anger novels, and optioned them as a high-end multi-season drama series, which the companies presented at the Series Mania Co-Pro Pitching Sessions in Lille.

Executive producers Stefan Baron of Nice Drama and Christian Wikander of Twelve Town were at the Series Mania Forum on behalf of the series, looking to secure European partners to aid in making “With One Eye Open” a high-end series, intended for the international market.

A development deal has already been signed with Swedish pubcaster SVT for two scripts, written by TV veterans Lars Lundström (“Real Humans”) and Anders Sparring (“Farang”), and an outline based on th3 first of Österdahl’s books, “Ask No Mercy,” with shooting planned for spring 2019.

The series, adapted from the first of Österdahl’s two – soon to be three – novels will follow Max Anger, a former attack diver for the Swedish Navy. Having fallen in love with Pashie, a Russian-Swedish researcher, he works with her on the 1996 Boris Yeltsin campaign in the tempestuous days leading up to the election.

In the course of her work, Pashie learns that Max’s personal history is completely invented, but before she can confront him, she is kidnapped when her work uncovers a neo-Stalinist plot.

The series will feature WWII-era flashbacks which will help explain Max’s family history, and leave hostages to fortune which surface in 1996.

“All the books Martin has written have Russia at the heart of the storytelling,” Baron told Variety in the lead-up to Series Mania.

“Why tell this story now?” Wikander and Baron asked during their pitch. “We all know about fake news and disinformation, and one fact is that a lot of this started in St Petersburg in the early ‘90s. We see a big movement from globalization to nationalism.”

“When we read the novel we based the story on, we were so excited,” they recalled. “It is a new perspective on Sweden, and the relationship with Russia.”

According to the partners, Österdahl’s books leave the door open for future seasons, with book two focusing on the 2000 Kursk submariner disaster, when Russian president Putin refused aid for a group of his sailors trapped at the bottom of the Barents sea.

Baron and Wikander were withholding about a possible arc for Season 3, set in 2001, however; the third Max Anger book is set to release this fall.

One of Scandinavia’s most important TV production houses, Sweden’s Nice Drama, part of the MTG Group, has successfully delivered high-calibre movies and TV series for the domestic and international markets, ranging from the movie blockbuster “The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” and its sequel “The 101-Year-Old Man Who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared” – both co-produced with FLX – and the TV shows “Thicker than Water” and “Midnight Sun.”

Produced by Nice Drama and Lagardère’s Atlantique, Swedish public broadcaster SVT and French pay TV giant Canal Plus, “Midnight Sun” proved one of Vivendi’s biggest series in 2016 as it aims to create a Europe-based alternative to U.S. scripted content.

U.K.-based, Twelve Town focuses on development, production and financing of drama series. Recent productions include “The Child in Time,” based on the Ian McEwan novel and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, for BBC1, and “Conspiracy of Silence,” for Scandinavia’s Viaplay.

More TV

  • DSC03586.ARW

    Virgin Media Partners With Amazon, Integrates Prime Video App

    Virgin Media is adding the Amazon Prime Video app to its TV service. The Liberty Global-owned cabler will integrate the app into its ultra HD settop from this summer, meaning customers with the high-end box can access Prime Video directly. Virgin Media will be the first Liberty Global pay TV business to integrate Amazon’s streaming [...]

  • PyeongChang Winter Olympics

    France Televisions to Sub-License Olympic Games for Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024 From Discovery

    France Télévisions has signed a deal with Discovery to sub-license exclusive free-to-air French broadcasting rights to the Olympic Games for Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024 from Eurosport, Discovery’s leading sports brand. Under the deal, France Télévisions will broadcast the 2022 and 2024 Olympic Games, as well as extended coverage, including dedicated streams covering every sport, [...]

  • Globe Centred On Asia And Oceania,

    APOS: Online Video Headed for 15% Annual Growth, Disrupting Asia Markets

    A blistering 15% annual growth of online video will give the Asian video industry (TV, pay-TV, home entertainment and streaming) a growth rate nearly double that of North America for the next five years. According to a new report from Media Partners Asia, published on the eve of the APOS conference in Indonesia, Asia’s online [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Writers Guild Says Over 7,000 Members Have Fired Agents

    Over 7,000 members of the Writers Guild of America have fired their talent agents, the Hollywood union said on Monday. As promised, the guild delivered a first round of termination letters to agents in a show of support for the WGA’s full-on war with the Association of Talent Agents. “Today the Guild delivered a first [...]

  • The Spanish Princess Starz

    TV Review: Starz's 'The Spanish Princess'

    With sumptuous costumes and a cast including a couple of familiar and beloved costume-drama players, Starz’s “The Spanish Princess,” about the travails of Catherine of Aragon, seems designed to appeal to lovers of broadly drawn historical romance. (It hits the air May 5 with a built-in fandom: Like past Starz miniseries including “The White Queen,” [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Jada Pinkett Smith's

    TV News Roundup: Amazon's 'Sneaky Pete' Releases Season 3 Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Amazon Prime Video releases a trailer for Season 3 of “Sneaky Pete,” and “Red Table Talk” with Jada Pinkett Smith sets a return date on Facebook Watch. FIRST LOOKS The official trailer for the third season of “Sneaky Pete” on Amazon Prime Video has been released, showing off the new [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content