Icelandic TV drama Trapped, which has already been picked up by the BBC, has now been acquired by The Weinstein Company who will look to distribute it to US broadcasters and online streaming services.
“We’re excited to bring the first Icelandic TV show to the U.S. and expanding the great content our TV division has to offer,” said Robert Walak, Weinstein Co.’s president and managing director of European production, acquisitions and TV.
The 10 part series directed by Baltasar Kormakur is set in a small Icelandic town where a mutilated body is found in the bay shortly after a Danish ferry comes into port. Reasoning that the body may have been dumped from the ship, police chief Andri (Olafur Darri Olafsson) and his deputy Hinrika (Ilmur Kristjansdottir) struggle to keep the rowdy passengers on board while they search for clues, and their travails are exacerbated by a mysteriously obstructive captain (Bjarne Henriksen). Then, when a blizzard makes the snowbound town inaccessible to outsiders (including detectives flying in from the capital) it dawns upon the locals that a killer walks amongst them.
Kormakur said “we’ve never had a TV series in Iceland that has gone further than the Faroe Islands. We’re jealous of our neighbours in Denmark and now we get to play along and that’s very important. I’ve been lucky, working abroad and have been able to create a show that will travel and has Icelandic actors and our stories and our culture,” he said.
The show is the most expensive Icelandic drama ever with a budget of around $7.5m and, in a rare move, Kormakur worked with three other directors on the series.
“It was interesting to work with other directors because mostly directors don’t talk to each other, they only talk to people interested in their work,” he said. “In the end I don’t approach TV any different [to feature films], it’s just a 45 minute movie and I try to shoot it like that.”
Trapped was acquired as a pre-buy by BBC Four in the UK, whose editor Cassian Harrison says that “BBC Four leads the way with international drama, drawn from a broad range of different countries, and I’m very pleased to be bringing this compelling, atmospheric thriller – our first from Iceland – to the channel.”
Sue Deeks, BBC Head of Programme Acquisition, adds: “A truly gripping storyline, stunning Icelandic setting and renowned feature film director Baltasar Kormákur (Everest) was a combination impossible to resist. Trapped will be our first Icelandic drama series and I am certain that BBC Four viewers are in for an absolute treat!”