Tom Tykwer to Develop 1920s TV Series 'Babylon Berlin'

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Tom Tykwer

The “Cloud Atlas” director will adapt Volker Kutscher's best-selling crime novels as a 12-part TV series.

COLOGNE, Germany – Cloud Atlas director-producer team Tom Tykwer and Stefan Arndt are developing a high-end TV series based on the best-selling Gereon Rath novels by German writer Volker Kutscher about a police detective in 1920s Berlin.

Directors Achim von Borries (Love in Thoughts) and Hendrik Handloegten (Learning to Lie) will adapt the Gereon Rath books with Tykwer and Arndt into a 12-part TV series titled Babylon Berlin. The series will be in German but will target the international market. Arndt and Tykwer's Berlin-based production shingle X Filme will produce the series.

Kutscher's novels follow the Cologne-born police detective Gereon Rath, who is transferred to Berlin and works to solve crimes in the turbulent German capital. The four novels published so far cover a period from 1929 to 1932, just before Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power and began World War II.

Arndt suggested that the novels provide sufficient material for several seasons of Babylon Berlin.

X Filme's project isn't the only series about 1920s Berlin in the pipeline. Leading German commercial network RTL and production group UFA Fiction will jointly develop a new period drama series set in 1920s Berlin. Just last week, RTL and UFA greenlighted their own historic miniseries – Killing Berlin -- set in the same period.

German is coming a bit late to the boom in high-end TV drama but is moving fast to catch up with the trend that has swept Europe, producing cross-border hits such as Denmark's The Killing, Brit drama Broadchurch and French zombie thriller The Returned.