Lasse Hallstrom Gears Up for His First-Ever Thriller, 'The Hypnotist' (Berlin)

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BERLIN -- Veteran Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules) is getting back to his roots, and going in an entirely new direction with The Hypnotist, his new project and the reason he's flown in to Berlin to drum up interest in buyers and the media.

Hallstrom's adaptation of the best-selling Swedish crime novel from Lars Kepler will be his first Swedish film in a quarter century. The project, which is set to begin shooting in Stockholm next year, reteams Hallstrom with his Swedish co-patriot Betril Ohlsson, who last worked together on Johnny Depp/Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Sweden's Svensk and Sonet Film are producing.

But The Hypnotist also marks a departure for Hallstrom: it will be his first ever thriller.

"It will be something very new for me. I don't get offered many thrillers in Hollywood," Hallstrom told The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm hoping to bring something new to the genre, to make the story character as well as plot driven -- to make a combination of a thriller/action film with a character drama."

The Hypnotist will boast an all-Swedish cast. While Hallstrom said no actors are yet attached, he said he would be looking for names that "might resonate outside of Sweden," suggesting Swedes with some international pull, such as Stellan and Alexander Skarsgard, Peter Stormare and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo stars Noomi Rapace and Mikael Nyqvist, should expect a call.

The Hypnotist is the first of a planned series of eight novels, two of which have been published, following the fraught-filled murder investigations of Stockholm detective Joona Linna. The film is being set up as a launch pad for a potential franchise. Hallstrom has an option to direct the second book in the series, "but I expect one will be all I do."

Hallstrom, currently in post on Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, will shoot Nicole Kidman/Rachel Weisz starrer The Danish Girl in Germany this summer. That picture will move into post just as The Hypnotist begins principal photography.