Shooting for the thriller series The Swarm by showrunner Frank Doelger starts in Italy
by Teresa Vena
- Based on the novel by German author Frank Schätzing, the eight-episode series will star Leonie Benesch, Cécile de France and Barbara Sukowa, among many others
The Swarm is the title of the international bestseller by German author Frank Schätzing. The novel, first published in 2004, will now be adapted into an eight-part thriller series bearing the same title. Not only did Schätzing provide the original story on which the series is based and adapt it to the new format, but he is also taking on the role of executive producer. Together with showrunner Frank Doelger (Game of Thrones), he emphasises his wish to modernise the story for the series, which should be “an interpretation for the days to come that focuses on the lives, fears and hopes of the younger generations”.
In The Swarm, humanity is struggling against an unknown swarm intelligence that lives in the depths of the sea. Its natural habitat is being threatened by mankind’s reckless behaviour towards the oceans. So it strikes back, putting human life in jeopardy. The fate of the world’s entire population is in the hands of a small group of scientists.
The scripts have been written by a team including Steven Lally (Strike Back), Marissa Lestrade (Deep State), Chris Lunt and Michael A Walker (Young Wallander). To lend extra clout to their research, they consulted a number of experts, such as polar and deep-sea researcher Professor Dr Antje Boetius, from the Alfred Wegener Institute, and Dr Jon Copley, professor of Ocean Exploration from the University of Southampton. A trio composed of Barbara Eder (Thank You for Bombing [+see also:
film profile]), Luke Watson (Britannia) and Philipp Stölzl (I've Never Been to New York) will be in charge of directing the series.
The impressive international cast that will literally be plunged into a dystopian universe includes European, US and Asian actors in the leading roles, such as Leonie Benesch (Babylon Berlin, The Crown), Cécile de France (The New Pope [+see also:
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
series profile]), Alexander Karim (The Lawyer), Joshua Odjick (Unsettled), Barbara Sukowa (Hannah Arendt [+see also:
interview: Margarethe von Trotta
film profile]), Krista Kosonen (Blade Runner 2049 [+see also:
film profile]), Rosabell Laurenti Sellers (Game of Thrones), Takuya Kimura (2046 [+see also:
film profile]), Eidin Jalali (Para - We Are King), Takehiro Hiera (Giri/Haji), Dutch Johnson (Veep, Navy CIS: LA) and Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Star Wars: Rogue One).
Shooting has just started in Italy and is slated to wrap by the end of September. Production is being led by Germany’s ZDF as part of the “European Alliance”, together with France Télévisions, RAI, ORF, SRF, Scandinavia’s Nordic Entertainment Group and Hulu Japan, which have formed the joint venture Schwarm TV Productions GmbH & Co KG. ZDF is also collaborating with the production companies Intaglio Films GmbH, ndF International Production GmbH, Bravado and Viola Film. The project is supported by the European Union’s Creative Europe – MEDIA programme and is funded by the German Motion Picture Fund (GMPF).
In addition, ZDF's main History and Science editorial department is producing two documentaries to accompany the series, which will take viewers on a fascinating adventure beneath the surface of the water.
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