Norwegian TV series Lilyhammer in US and Americas alongside local premiere
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
The first season of Lilyhammer, a Norwegian TV show starring Italian-American actor-musician Stevie Van Zandt, will be launched in the US, Canada and Latin America simultaneously with its local premiere, through US Netflix streaming service and cable network.
Scripted by Norway’s Anne Bjørnstad and Eilif Skodvin and directed by, among others, Simen Alsvik and Geir Henning Hopland, the 8 x 46min series follows a New York mobster, Frank The Fixer Tagliano, who asks the FBI – as part of a witness protection programme - to be relocated to the sleepy Norwegian town that hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics.
The change from feared and respected gangster in New York to unemployed immigrant in Oppland is not easy for Van Zandt, known for his il consiglieri performance in The Sopranos TV series and as guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. To move his way up in the provincial society, he has to resort to his former, unscrupulous methods.
"Lilyhammer is great dark, funny television, with great storytelling and an outrageous culture clash – Van Zandt fans will be thrilled to see him in such a familiar role, but in an all new setting,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, which will begin the series in early 2012. From the US, Canada and Latin America it will shortly extend its services to Facebook members in 44 countries.
Produced by Agnete Thuland and Trond Berg-Nilssen for Norway’s Rubicon TV – a part of the Metronome Film & Television group – the show co-stars Norwegian actors Trond Fausa Aurvåg, Marian Saastad Ottesen, Sven Nordin, Kyrre Hellum and Anne Krigsvoll. It will also be aired by the series’ commissioner, Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, at the beginning of 2012. Lilyhammer’s dialogue is a mixture of Norwegian and English, with subtitles filling in for the other language depending on where it is shown. "We're proud to break new ground for Norway, and we hope this will help other Norwegian producers to have this kind of success,” added Lasse Hallberg, Metronome svp-head of creative business affairs.
In another move, Norwegian commercial broadcaster TV2 Norge has licensed US remake rights for Dag to Fox TV Studios (part of 20th Century Fox), as the first Norwegian drama series to reach the American market.
The US version will be written by Stephen Godchaux (Dead Like Me, Spin City, Wild Card), and it will be produced by Cary Brokaw (The Player, Closer).
Directed by Øystein Karlsen, scripted by Karlsen with Kristopher Schau and starring Atle Antonsen, the Norwegian series will start its second season in Norway this month (November).
The 10 x 23 minutes following everyday life of a marital therapist who thinks everybody should live by him(or her)self was produced by Pål Bugge Haagenrud, Anders Tangen and Karlsen for Kamerakameratene.