EXCLUSIVE: Baltasar Kormakur’s Everest recently crossed $200M at the worldwide box office, a personal record. But the helmer notoriously likes to keep one foot in his home country of Iceland while also toiling away on Hollywood projects. In a departure for the director of The Deep and 2 Guns, he’s now set to produce his first comedy series for televison. The Mayor is a day-in-the-life satire based on real-life comedian-turned-mayor of Reykjavik, Jon Gnarr. Kormakur’s RVK Studios is making the single camera comedy for Iceland’s Channel 2 with a production start eyed for early next year.
The 10-part series is created by Gnarr, a comedian who in 2009 founded the Best Party to satirize Iceland’s political system after the country’s financial collapse precipitated the worldwide meltdown. In another satirical gesture, he stood for mayor of Reykjavik in 2010. To his surprise, and that of the political establishment, he won. Among his campaign promises were free towels in all public swimming pools and a “drug-free Parliament by 2020.” After winning, Gnarr proposed a coalition government, but ruled out partners who had not seen all five seasons of The Wire.
The Mayor will be loosely based on Gnarr’s tenure, and the knowledge he gained from dealing with politicians up and down the scale of honesty. He is expected to star in the titular role, playing him as a spoiled, whiskey-guzzling politician, who never makes decisions without thinking about how it could benefit him and the people he knows. The story will be centered on the relationship he has with his assistant, Dúddi, a young swanky man in his early forties. Dúddi is always in the know, ready to step in and try to fix any blooper his boss may commit.
In what Kormakur likens to Veep or The Office, the series will follow the mayor’s daily routine, all of his mistakes, his decisions, and his love affairs. The series will be in Icelandic, but Kormakur tells me he sees English-language remake possibilities.
A team of comedians will make up the writers room and Kormakur says he’ll be heavily involved, despite his other ongoing projects. He marvels of Gnarr, “He’s basically a comedian becoming a mayor, becoming a comedian playing a mayor. When is that going to end?” Potentially if Gnarr ends up as president of Iceland. A Gallup Poll this summer said most respondents would vote for him in the election expected to take place next summer.