HELLFJORD Gets US Remake at Showtime
Well, this is exciting news. Deadline is reporting that Norwegian writer/director Tommy Wirkola (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) is re-teaming with producers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell for an English-language version of the superb TV comedy series Hellfjord for Showtime. While I seem to have been one of the only critics who liked Wirkola's anarchic Brothers Grimm update, it has just crossed US$200 million at the global box office, and off the back of news that a sequel has been greenlit, it seems Wirkola is on a roll.
Hellfjord is the story of a disgraced Oslo police detective who is banished to the remote climes of Northern Norway after accidentally killing his own horse. The bizarre small town of Hellfjord boasts an oddball population all aged over 60, where everyone smokes and the only source of income is from the fish cannery. There's also a mysterious sea monster in the lake and a series of hideous murders to contend with.
The original series was created and produced by Wirkola, Kjetel Omberg, Terje Stromstad and Stig Frode Henriksen. Together with the star of the original show, Zahid Ali, Wirkola and Henriksen wrote the series, and will be penning the remake for Showtime, with Wirkola on board to direct the pilot. There is no word as yet whether Ali will act in the remake (or if the pivotal fact his lead character was ethnically Pakistani will be included at all in the new version).
The first season of Hellfjord, which plays like a cross between Twin Peaks and Hot Fuzz, was screened in its entirety at Fantastic Fest last year, where it proved a massive hit. Were the remake to focus on an American cop sent to Norway I can see the series maintaining a large degree of its quirky appeal, however if it is to be based entirely on US soil then the jury is out until more details about the remake emerge. Suffice to say, with the original creative team behind it, and Ferrell and McKay's clout as Executive Producers backing them up, Showtime's version could be something very special indeed.