EXCLUSIVE: Anonymous Content is going all in on the series of thriller novels by Lars Kepler, the pseudonym for the married Swedish authors Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril, and Alexander Ahndoril. Anonymous Content has optioned the books and will start with both a film adaptation of The Sandman which Kepler and Niclas Salomonsson will executive produce, and a TV series adaptation of The Hypnotist that Anonymous Content has set at Paramount Television through the company’s first look deal. Anonymous Content’s Kerry Kohansky-Roberts and Steve Golin will executive produce the series, and they will produce the feature film.
On the TV side, the 2009 novel The Hypnotist takes place in the frigid climes of Tumba, Sweden, where a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. The child’s survival was miraculous; he suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. The detective becomes desperate for information and turns to a reluctant hypnotist to try unlocking the trauma and memory to find the killer. A terrifying chain of events follow.
The movie will adapt the 2012 novel The Sandman, the chilling story of a manipulative serial killer and the two cops who try to beat him at his own game. Late one night, outside Stockholm, Mikael Kohler-Frost is found wandering. Thirteen years earlier, he went missing along with his younger sister. They were long thought to have been victims of Sweden’s most notorious serial killer Jurek Walter, who was caught (by the recurring police detective Joona Linna) and is serving a life sentence in a maximum security psychiatric hospital. The victim tells the police that his sister is still alive and being held by someone he knows only as the Sandman. After making an excruciating personal sacrifice to catch the other serial killer, Linna takes aim at his accomplice. He enlists a young female police inspector, the only one that Walter will speak to. She will have to go under deep cover in the psychiatric ward where Jurek is imprisoned, and find a way to get to the psychopath before it’s too late–and before he gets inside her head.
The Sandman will be published in hardcover for the first time in the U.S. next July by Alfred A. Knopf, the publisher which brought the works of Jo Nesbø and Stieg Larsson to the U.S.. Vintage will reissue Kepler’s backlist in new translations, beginning in June with The Hypnotist. The Salmonsson Agency is Kepler’s publishing agent, and Kepler and Salomonsson are represented by WME, with Keith Fleer the attorney for The Salomonsson Agency.