EXCLUSIVE: Stampede, the indie media company founded by former Warner Bros Pictures President Greg Silverman, has acquired bestselling author Ragnar Jonasson’s Icelandic thriller The Darkness and will adapt it as a local-language series. The competitive acquisition heading into the London Book Fair marks Stampede’s first piece of development for its new international arm, which expands the duties of Worldwide Content Acquisitions Head, JP Sarni.
The Darkness, which was published last year, is Jónasson’s first in a planned trilogy focusing on Reykjavik detective Hulda Hermannsdóttir. A dedicated investigator, she is being forced into early retirement and takes on a final cold case centered on a young Russian asylum seeker who died mysteriously one year prior.
Jónasson’s crime books have been published in more than 20 languages. His next novel, The Island, is set to be released later this year in the U.S. and UK.
“I am thrilled to be able to work with Greg Silverman and his team at Stampede on The Darkness. Hulda is in excellent hands and I very much look forward to seeing her come to life on the screen,” says Jónasson.
Silverman adds, “I have always believed in ‘local for the world.’ There are no barriers for local content in this marketplace to succeed worldwide. It’s an unprecedented moment for IP, Film, TV and innovative world-builders. We are honored to be able to partner with storytellers around the globe to tell those stories in the most authentic way, with an eye towards the current market. We are curators, and as such, we’re thrilled to highlight writers like Jónasson, whose rich imagination creates not only worlds but mesmerizing characters which attract major talents.”
Stampede’s new international division builds on a robust slate of film, TV and alternative content that it has set-up with various buyers, broadcasters and platforms in the States. Stampede’s other drama projects include The Great Gatsby origin series Gatz, which is in development at YouTube Premium; and Witnesses, which is in the works at Fox through 20th Century Fox TV.
The film development slate also includes adaptations of James Riley’s middle-grade fantasy Revenge Of Magic, Sam Marsden’s dystopian YA novel Under Glass, and of the popular video game Dance Dance Revolution. Further recent deals include a first-look with Snail, one of China’s largest video game developers, with whom Stampede is teaming on Ark: Survival Evolved, an action film adapted from Snail’s game of the same name.
Jónasson is repped by Emily Hayward Whitlock at The Artists Partnership for film and TV.