Zentropa examines fraud and corruption within EU in Euro-noir series Babylon
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
23/01/2012 - The Euro-noir series Babylon – the first pan-European TV drama about fraud and corruption within the EU, backed by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU)– will be staged by Denmark’s Zentropa Entertainments. Scripts for the 24x50min programme will be ready in February, for shooting to commence later this year in collaboration with Danish and Swedish pubcasters DR and SVT, ARTE France and RTÉ Ireland. The show is internationally marketed by Denmark’s TrustNordisk.
”A truck driver smashes into a crowd at the historic Waterloo monument just a few miles outside Brussels, killing students, politicians, members of the press and security people,” is the EBU’s introduction to Babylon, which follows the investigation of Belgian police John van Martens and an Irish newly elected MEP who do not believe this was not just another drunk-drive accident. They eventually realise that ”like in The X-files, The Da Vinci Code and 24hrs, there is a conspiracy around the corner, and a dense concentration of power pulling the strings”.
From a concept by Danish film and TV director Anders Rønnow Klarlund, Babylon will be filmed by German director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall [trailer, film focus] (2004). It will be produced by Peter Engel, of Zentropa RamBUk (the company’s TV division), with Peter Aalbæk Jensen and Peter Garde. Lars von Trier and DR ex-drama chief Ingolf Gabold will act as consultants, and the first season will be scheduled for the end of 2013.
Denmark’s DRTV is a regular on the international television circuit, after the award-winning The Killing and Borgen (aka Government) have aired in several countries, including the UK; the channel’s joint venture with Swedish STV, The Bridge, is currently being transferred to the US by Kudos. In co-operation with Danish public broadcaster TV2, Zentropa is preparing a series from Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen’s four novels of deputy detective superintendant Carl Mørck and Department Q for "cases of special focus".