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Alan Taylor, an Emmy-winning director best known for his work on The Sopranos and Game of Thrones, has signed on to direct the international series The Swarm, based on the best-selling environmental thriller of the same name by German author Frank Schatzing.
Set in the present day, The Swarm imagines a global environmental crisis where swarms of strange worms, mussels, toxic jellyfish, lobsters and whales suddenly emerge in the oceans worldwide, threatening humanity and the future of the planet itself.
An international group of scientists and military experts uncover the shocking fact that the coordinated attack is actually being directed by a collective intelligence that has always existed on the planet, residing at the bottom of the sea. After suffering the ravages of civilization on its habitat, it has decided to fight back.
Intaglio Films and ndF International Production are producing the first eight-episode season of The Swarm, with shooting set to start in early 2020.
“It is rare to come across a show that is global in scale and yet really functions at an emotional and character level, while being highly relevant to what we are wrestling with today,” Taylor said in a statement. “It’s amazing material with the structure of a thriller. It builds towards an ending which I find devastating and transcendent, all at the same time. I’m very grateful to be a part of this.”
Taylor is currently directing New Line’s The Sopranos prequel movie. In addition to his television work — which includes episodes of Deadwood, Sex in the City, Mad Men and The West Wing — he has helmed such feature films as Thor: The Dark World and Terminator: Genisys.
The Swarm will be the first major production from Intaglio Films, a new scripted joint venture between German groups Beta Film and ZDF Enterprises. The English-language series has been commissioned by German public broadcaster ZDF. Beta is handling worldwide sales. For ZDF, The Swarm is the first entry into high-end international TV series.
Producer Frank Doelger (Game of Thrones), Intaglio’s creative director, is overseeing the project as executive producer together with ndF chief executive Eric Welbers in partnership with the rights holding company Swarm Production KG, run by Till Gronemeyer and owned by Athos, and Frank Schatzing and his publishing house Kiepenheuer & Witsch.
Doelger, Welbers and Frank Zervos, senior vp films and series for ZDF, will present the project at MipTV on Monday as part of the market’s in-development program. Schatzing will serve as executive producer, with Friedemann Goez (The Same Sky) and Charlotte Groth on board as producers.
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