London-based production outfit Ugly Duckling Films has secured film, TV and audio rights to the upcoming Danish thriller novel The Midas Syndrome, which is inspired by the real European money laundering scandal involving Danske Bank.
The story centers on Mads Brodersen, who has finally landed his dream job at Nordisk Bank in Denmark with all the perks and fat cat trimmings. When he is moved to the bank’s branch in Estonia, the banker learns that his predecessor died under mysterious circumstances. He naively investigates the death only to discover that there is a far bigger cover-up at large, involving several countries and political forces.
The fictional novel, which is being set up as a trilogy, is based on research by journalists Per Kaae and Peer Kuskner. It will be published later this month by HarperCollins Denmark and there are said to be discussions with other HarperCollins publishers for other territories.
“During these surreal and difficult times, we’re more aware than ever of the importance of storytelling”, said Ugly Duckling Films’ producer and founder Lene Bausager. “Peer and Per’s painstaking and thorough research have enabled them to create a gripping, action-packed drama that takes a close look at the world of international money laundering – the players, the commentators, the victories and the spoils.
“Seeing the impact of the scandal through the eyes of Mads, an ordinary man, only highlights how extraordinary the events were. With the real court case coming to trial later this year in Denmark, it will be interesting to see what further and surprising evidence will come to light. I’m thrilled to be adapting this piece of Danish IP for the international market.”
Ugly Duckling Films, which is represented by WME, is in post-production on Brit List nominee Matt Chambers’ debut feature The Bike Thief starring Alec Secareanu and Anamaria Marinca. Beta Cinema handles world sales. The firm is also developing The Doodler true crime podcast series with the San Francisco Chronicle and Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist Kevin Fagan.
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