HBO Europe Orders 'Kamikaze' as First Danish Original

Lars E. Andreasen
From left: Annette K. Olesen, Johanne Algren, Ditte Milsted

'Borgen' director Annette K. Olesen will helm the eight-part series from writer Johanne Algren, with Ditte Milsted ('Rams') producing.

HBO Europe has added another Nordic nation to its original production slate, putting in a series order for Kamikaze, HBO's first Danish drama series. 

Based on a Norwegian novel by Erlend Loe, Kamikaze follows Julie, who receives a final text message from her father seconds before her parents and older brother are killed in a plane crash in Uganda. Thrown into an existential crisis, the 18-year-old sets out on a dangerous journey of self-discovery that will take her around the world. 

Annette K. Olesen, the director of features such as Minor Mishaps (2002) and Little Soldier (2008) as well as several episodes of hit Danish drama Borgen, will direct all eight episodes of Kamikaze. Writer Johanne Algren will adapt Loe's novel for the small screen. 

Ditte Milsted, whose feature credits include Rams and Valhalla, will produce through her Copenhagen-based shingle Profile Pictures. Hanne Palmquist, commissioning editor and vp original programming at HBO Nordic, will executive produce, together with HBO Europe execs Steve Matthews and Antony Root.

Production on Kamikaze is set to kick off in January next year. 

Palmquist noted that Kamikaze breaks the mold of most Nordic young adult drama by shifting its focus from “friendships, life at school and the local environment” to take the reader on a “tour de force out in the world — from Seoul to Mexico, London to the Sahara Desert.”

The Danish series comes on the heels of HBO Europe originals in Sweden (Gösta, Beartown) and Norway (Beforeigners, Untamed).

HBO's Scandinavian division HBO Nordic, launched in 2016, is ramping up production amid competition from Netflix — which has local originals including Danish dystopian drama The Rain and Swedish crime thriller Quicksand — and Scandinavian streamer Viaplay (Occupied, The Lawyer).