'Melancholia' Producer, 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' Writer to Adapt Danish Crime Bestsellers

3:57 AM PST 01/06/2012 by Scott Roxborough
Claus Helveg
Jussi Adler-Olsen

Zentropa's Louise Vesth will adapt the four Department Q novels from Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen for commercial network TV2 and German pubweb ZDF.

COLOGNE, Germany - Louise Vesth, one of the lead producers on Lars von Trier's Melancholia, has signed on to adapt the best-selling crime novels of Danish writer Jussi Adler-Olsen featuring detective Carl Morck of  Copenhagen's Department Q for "cases of special focus."

Vesth will adapt the first four Department Q novels for television and cinema release, following the successful model of Stieg Larsson's Millennium franchise. Nikolaj Arcel, a co-writer of the original Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, will write the entire series. Mikkel Norgaard, who directed Danish comedy hit Clown, which Vesth produced, will direct the first book in the series, The Woman in the Cage (aka Mercy). Production is set to begin this September with the first film bowing late 2013.

Denmark's Zentropa is producing with Danish commercial channel TV2 and German public broadcaster ZDF as partners. The budget for the entire series will be in the $17 million (€13.5 million) range.

Alder-Olsen's Department Q novels - The Woman in the Cage, The Pheasant Killers, Message in a Bottle and Journal 64 - have sold a total of six million copies in 32 countries.  Penguin published The Woman in the Cage under the title Mercy in the U.S. last year. Alder-Olsen is currently working on a fifth Carl Morck novel with plans for a total of 10 books.

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