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New Icelandic Nordic Noir series unveils details; is picked up by Viaplay

As Series Mania takes place in Paris, one of the biggest new series announced is the Icelandic drama Stella Blómkvist. 

The series is based on first-person novels penned by the pseudonymous Stella Blómkvist, who is a hard-nosed lawyer taking on mysterious murder cases. The series will delve into Icelandic politics, including the aftermath of the Panama Papers, where the Icelandic Prime Minister had to resign. The first book, titled The Murder in the Ministry, was published in 1997 and will now be the first season of the series. The novels hold an average 3.5/5 rating on Goodreads.

The show’s head writer, Jóhann Ævar Grímsson, spoke to Variety about Stella Blómkvist. He describes Stella Blómkvist as being “clever, ruthless, witty” and “in it for the money, kind of like Sam Spade with a law degree and sexuality”. He also mentions that the production company hopes to do all eight books in the series, and the structure of the series is inspired by the Sherlock episodes from the BBC. While

While Stella Blómkvist will embrace the Nordic Noir tag, they hope to do something new with the series. This seems to be a current trend in Nordic film and television; the desire to move away from the brand Nordic Noir and towards more unique dramas. Could this be the end of Nordic Noir? We take a look into that in our upcoming magazine.

Back to the interview.

Stella Blómkvist wants to be different from the current Icelandic success story Trapped. Here’s Jóhann Ævar Grímsson explaining the differences:

This is the first series I’ve worked on that is adapted from earlier work, so that was a challenge in and of it itself, for me personally. You don’t get as much elbow room to change things – you have to keep true to the character, you have to keep true to the spirit of the books. But at the same time, it was a fun challenge. Before this, I was a writer on the The Night Shift trilogy [2007], which was shown on BBC4. That was a comedy series, with some dramatic elements, and then I was writing on The Press [“Pressa,” 2011] which was a crime thriller series about a newspaper. Compared to those two, this series is more stylised. In most of the work I’ve done previously, we’ve gone closer to reality than we are doing in this series. We are trying to go for a more stylistic look, with more stylistic touches in the format and the presentation of the series itself. We’re going to be using a narrator, we’re going to be using flashbacks… It’s very handy that Fargo series two has kind of opened up a bit of leverage for us in that regard, but we were already planning to do that before we saw it. We want to have fun with the format – the whole look of things.

You can read the whole interview at Variety. 

The series has already been picked up by Nordic streaming service Viaplay, and is the first-ever Icelandic Viaplay Original series, nordicfilmandtvnews.com reports.

Stella Blómkvist is produced by Sagafilm, who have also produced the television series Case, as well as the films Cold Trail and Mr Bjarnfredarsson. The series will be the first local television drama commissioned by the Icelandic telco Siminn, and Red Arrow International, who handles world sales, will launch the series at MIPCOM in October 2017.

Pictured: Heida Reed, who will play Stella Blómkvist. Image via Saga
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