CBS Studios announced yesterday that their first project with the recently launched Stampede Ventures International, whose mission is to source, acquire and develop premium scripted content for the international market, will be an eight-episode series adaptation of Ragnar Jónasson’s best-selling book The Darkness, from his Hulda series of crime novels. The series is targeted for production in Iceland and Truenorth Productions, who recently produced “The Valhalla Murders” for Netflix are also a part of the project.
According to the press release, ““The Darkness” is an eight-episode, one-hour crime drama set in Iceland that centres around Hulda Hermannsdottir, a detective who is bracing for retirement by year’s end but is blindsided when she’s told she has two weeks to clean up her desk and start her “new life” months earlier than expected. To fill her remaining time, she’s given a cold case to keep busy – reviewing the files about a young Russian woman who washed up on a remote Icelandic beach. A quiet death in a watery grave to which no one paid any mind. Hulda will begin to question those closest to her, no matter the cost.” The book has been a hit in several countries, topping bestseller lists for weeks at a time in Germany and France and doing well in the UK and US as well.
Ragnar Jónasson’s books have been published in 27 languages in 40 countries and sold about a million and a half copies worldwide but this is the first time one of his works receives a live-action adaption. He says he’s thrilled about the news and not scared in the least to let others adapt his work. “I sold the rights to Stampede a year or two ago so this has been out of my hands for a while. I don’t know the details but it’s an exciting project and set to be produced in Iceland. ” The casting will be a surprise to him as well but he says he’s never pictured Hulda as a specific actress. “I’ve written her at different periods in her life so I don’t have a specific face in mind.” He’s happy for the fans of Icelandic thrillers and the Nordic noir genre all over the world. “Its popularity doesn’t seem to be waning in the least, despite what some people have predicted,” Ragnar says.
Ragnar’s latest book will be published in Iceland in October and is not a part of the Hulda series but the Dark Iceland series. Readers in other countries won’t have to wait long as the book is already out in French under the title Sigló and will be out in the UK later this year as Winterkill.
In addition to Ragnar’s successful career as a thriller writer of more than a dozen novels, he also holds down a day job in Arion bank’s corporate finance division. He says it isn’t hard at all to have two separate careers. “I enjoy going to work, I work with a fun group of people. But I often get plenty busy with writing at night.”