Colin Farrell Dives Into 'The North Water' for BBC, Andrew Haigh

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Colin Farrell

The 'Lean on Pete' director will helm the four-part thriller about an ill-fated whaling expedition in the Arctic in 1850.

Colin Farrell has signed on to star as a nasty harpooner in The North Water, a four-part period thriller, which Andrew Haigh (Lean on Pete, 45 Years) will direct for the BBC.

See-Saw Films (The King's Speech, Top of the Lake) will produce the mini-series, based on Ian McGuire’s best-selling novel about a disastrous 19th-century whaling expedition.

The plot follows Patrick Sumner, a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as ship’s doctor on the expedition. On board he meets Henry Drax (Farrell), the harpooner, a brutish amoral killer. Instead of escaping the horrors of his past, Sumner is forced into a brutal struggle for survival in the Arctic wasteland.

Jamie Laurenson and Hakan Kousetta will executive produce The North Water, together with Iain Canning and Emile Sherman for See-Saw Films alongside Niv Fichman for co-producers Rhombus Media and Lucy Richer for the BBC. Kate Ogborn will produce for See-Saw.

The series, planned as three one-hour and one 90-minute episodes, will begin shooting this fall. BBC  Studios will distribute The North Water internationally.

Farrell recently featured in See-Saw Film’s Widows, the Steve McQueen-directed crime drama starring Viola Davis. He also stars in Tim Burton's upcoming live-action take on Disney’s Dumbo. Haigh, who had his international breakthrough with the Oscar-nominated drama 45 Years, starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, has won acclaim for the U.S.-set drama Lean on Pete and the HBO series Looking.