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Michael Hirst Signs on to Write Endemol Shine’s ‘Ibis Trilogy’

Shekhar Kapur
Courtesy of IFFAM

Top screenwriter, Michael Hirst (“The Vikings,” “The Tudors”) has been appointed to draft the screenplay for “The Ibis Trilogy” a series adaptation that depicts the lives of vividly-drawn characters against the backdrop of the narcotics trade between Britain, India and China and including the “Opium Wars.”

The move reunites Hirst with “Elizabeth” director Shekhar Kapur, who is set to direct the series for Endemol Shine. The announcement was made Wednesday at Content London by Endemol Shine India’s Abhishek Rege.

The series is to be produced by Tiger Aspect with its newly appointed head of drama Lucy Bedford, as executive producer, in partnership with Endemol Shine India and TV packaging consultancy service DoveTale Media.

The books “Sea of Poppies,” “River of Smoke,” and “Flood of Fire,” are set in mid-19th century Asia were written by Amitav Ghosh. Justin Pollard (“Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, TV’s “Vikings” and “The Tudors”) was previously announced as historical consultant and story editor.

“Amitav Ghosh’s books brilliantly bring out the vast epic and emotional tale of opium, from its beginnings in India where it is grown and onto China where it is pushed by drug lords. The story also follows the journeys of indentured labor from India to colonies around the world and tells the intriguing tales of people from India, America and China at a time when modern history was being formed,” said Kapur.

Kapur has been in high demand since global and regional streaming services began tapping in to high-end Indian original content formats. Kapur has a production deal with Disney’s Hotstar platform in India, and has announced plans for a musical feature film based on the life and death of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I.