EXCLUSIVE: Liza Marshall’s newly launched indie outfit Hera Pictures is kicking open its doors with English-language rights to coveted hit Norwegian drama series Valkyrien. Mark Strong is set to take the lead role in the adaptation of the high-concept thriller, which will move from Oslo to London.
Valkyrien centers around a surgeon desperately seeking to find a cure for his dying wife after the hospital stops treating her and deems her a lost cause. In order to save her, he creates an illegal hospital in a disused underground station where he teams up with a Doomsday “prepper” and civil anarchist who brings him a growing number of off-grid patients – from criminal gang lords to refugees – who can’t or won’t seek traditional medical help.
Hera Pictures, which Marshall launched in January, won the project in a competitive situation, a real coup for the seasoned and well-respected producer as the first project from her new banner. Marshall, former Scott Free UK head and former Channel 4 Head of Drama, left Archery Pictures last year to set up on her own.
Valkyrien was originally produced by Norway’s Tordenfilm in 2016 for NRK and was created and directed by Erik Richter Strand (Occupied), whose work has garnered numerous international awards. He co-wrote the screenplay with Thomas Seeberg Torjussen, Bjørn Ekeberg and Katherine Valen Zeiner. It was produced by Eric Vogel and Nina B Andersson for Tordenfilm. Tone C Rønning served as exec producer for NRK and Ronnie Fridthjof co-produced for Fridthjof Film.
Hera acquired the rights from Laurent Boissel and Emmanuelle Guilbart at About Premium Content.
“I compulsively watched this series in one sitting,” said Marshall. “It is one of the smartest, most gripping and unusual dramas I have seen for a long time. It will work brilliantly set in London in this age of political uncertainty and social unrest. Valkyrien couldn’t be more timely.”
Strong said: “The concept of the series is both intriguing and highly original and the characters are all fascinatingly complex. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to bring the English-language version to the screen.”
Boissel added: “Tordenfilm and APC are delighted to entrust the English-language remake to Liza Marshall who we are confident will deliver an ambitious show with Mark Strong attached in the lead.”
Marshall is currently in post-production on Riviera, a 10-part series for Sky Atlantic with Archery Pictures, and The State, a four-part drama about ISIS from Peter Kosminsky for Channel 4, co-developed with National Geographic.
As Hera Pictures continues to ramp up its development slate, it has hired Chloe Dunbar, former head of press for Channel 4 drama, U.S. acquisitions and Film4, as development executive. Dunbar more recently served as director of Ways With Words literature festival group.