CBS Studios Inks International First-Look Deal With Stampede Ventures, Adapting Ragnar Jónasson’s ‘The Darkness’

CBS Studios Inks International First-Look Deal With Stampede Ventures, Adapting Ragnar Jónasson’s ‘The Darkness’

By Peter White

September 16, 2020 8:00am

Ragnar Jonasson
Ragnar JonassonGuillem Lopez/Photoshot/Newscom/The Mega Agency

EXCLUSIVE: CBS Studios has struck a global first-look deal with Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures International and has set its first project – an adaptation of Ragnar Jónasson’s best-selling Nordic noir book The Darkness.

The two companies will work together to source, acquire and develop premium scripted content for the international market that is creatively anchored outside the United States.

The first project is a series adaptation of Jónasson’s The Darkness, from his Hulda series of crime novels. Rising writer Andrea Janakas, who wrote Amanda Seyfried-fronted short film Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves, is attached to write

The eight-part series is set in Reykjavik, Iceland, among the isolated fjords. It follows  Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir, who is given two weeks, before retirement to solve the cold case of a young Russian woman, whose body washes up on an Icelandic shore. Hulda discovers that another young woman vanished at the same time, and that no one is telling her the whole story. Even her colleagues in the police seem determined to put the brakes on her investigation.

Truenorth Productions, the Icelandic production company that recently co-produced The Valhalla Murders, Netflix’s first Icelandic original, is attached to provide production services for the series, which is targeted for production in Iceland.

As part of the first-look deal, JP Sarni, who heads up international content and worldwide content acquisitions for Stampede Ventures, is developing book properties, original concepts and other IP for local and English-language production. The slate represents projects from 15 countries, including Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Mexico, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

“It is a remarkable opportunity for CBS Studios to partner and develop global content with Stampede Ventures, as we continue to build on our existing international slate,” said Meghan Lyvers, Senior Vice President of International Co-Productions and Development, CBS Studios. “Wonderful content will always stand out, regardless of origin, and The Darkness is a reflection of that fact. We are confident this is the first of many projects in this new partnership with Greg and JP.”

“We are ecstatic to be working with Meghan and the team at CBS Studios,” added JP Sarni. “This new relationship will develop and curate international series from top writers, directors, producers and talent. It’s a real opportunity to give voice to local stories that we can celebrate with both traditional broadcasters and streamers.”

CBS Studios will have worldwide distribution and international remake rights for this series.

Chris Bosco and Anna Pinar negotiated the deal on behalf of Stampede Ventures. Ragnar Jónasson is repped by Emily Hayward Whitlock at The Artists Partnership, Monica Gram at Copenhagen Literary Agency and David Headley of David Headley Literary Agency. Andrea Janakas is repped by Paradigm, Seth Nagel and Chad Christopher at Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher, LLP.

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