Game of Thrones exec producer Frank Doelger is adapting environmental sci-fi thriller novel The Swarm into an English-language TV drama. The project is the first drama to emerge from Doelger’s nascent Intaglio Films.
The series is being adapted into an eight-part big-budget series for German broadcaster ZDF. Uma Thurman had previously been attached to adapt the book into a feature film with The Silence of the Lambs screenwriter Ted Tally.
The Swarm, based on Frank Schaetzing’s book, is a global environmental thriller set in a present day where anomalies and unnatural behavior in marine animals are causing upheaval all over the world. Millions of strange worms suddenly appear on the bottom of the North Sea, drilling their way through frozen methane, threatening to destabilize the entire continental shelf. Swarms of mussels stop large vessels from maneuvering. Toxic jellyfish, lobsters and whales start attacking human beings along the coasts of the world. It follows a global group of scientists and military who come together to tackle one of the biggest challenges mankind has ever faced. They make the chilling discovery that we are not the only intelligent species on this planet – and that deep down at the bottom of the sea resides a collective intelligence which has suffered the ravages of civilization on its habitat and decided to fight back.
Production on the series will begin in 2019 and it will be exec produced by Doelger, Schaetzing and Eric Welbers. Intaglio Films, a new German TV production company designed to produce English-language drama for the international market, is a joint venture between Babylon Berlin producer Beta Film and ZDF Enterprises, the commercial arm of the German public broadcaster.
Doelger was a producer on season one of HBO’s epic fantasy hit, moving up to exec producer from season two and has also worked on HBO series including Rome and John Adams. He previously worked with Beta to develop fantasy drama The Perished Land.
Schaetzing said, “The question about a possible film adaptation of The Swarm was the one I was most frequently asked about. Every time my answer was: deadlock. Who would have thought that the ideal team would come together after all, that visionary TV producers and pro-players including Game of Thrones creative force Frank Doelger would come on board to steer this large-scale international TV series, which is the strongest narrative form one could adapt an adventure like The Swarm into. It’s full steam ahead from now on. I’m very excited and looking forward to this collaboration.”
Doelger added, “After having spent eight seasons in the mythical world of Game of Thrones, it is great to return to the present with The Swarm and its searing exploration of the impending doom brought about by man’s callous disregard of the oceans, a doomsday scenario as dire as anything imagined by George R.R. Martin.”