BREAKING: HBO has given a series order to an adaptation of the Jo Nesbo novel The Son with Jake Gyllenhaal on board to star and his Prisoners director Denis Villeneuve on board to direct. Gyllenhaal and Villeneuve will also exec produced the limited series with Gyllenhaal producing through his Nine Stories’ banner along with his partner Riva Marker. Kilter Films’ Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy will join as exec producers along with Kilter Films Athena Wickham. Nolan and Joy will showrun along with Lenore Zion who is also executive producing. Zion will also write the series.
The series is based on from the #1 New York Times bestselling novel which is described as a tale of vengeance set amid Oslo’s brutal hierarchy of corruption. The story follows Sonny Lofthus, an escaped convict: an opioid addict who can’t recall his past, on the run from the law toward an unknown truth.
The Son was the first book optioned by Nine Stories under their term deal with Bold Films in 2016.Sylvie Rabineau, when she was still RWSG Literary Agency, gave Marker the book, and she and Gyllenhaal moved quickly to acquire the rights, recognizing in Nesbo’s character, Sonny Lofthus, the potential for a franchise like Bourne or The Fugitive.
“Jonah and Lisa are a formidable creative force and we are excited to collaborate with them again, alongside the brilliant Lenore, to adapt Jo Nesbø’s novel,” said Orsi. “Denis is a master at weaving visually exquisite and unique narratives, Jake is a gifted actor and producer whose work often traverses provocative and compelling terrain, and of course, he and Denis have collaborated brilliantly in the past. We are beyond excited to see how this powerhouse team tackles this exceptional work.”
Sources tell Deadline, after trying for years to find their next project after the success of the crime thriller Prisoners, Gyllenhaal saw this as the perfect opportunity to reteam. He gave the book to Villeneuve, who read it overnight. Gyllenhaal and Marker were on set of the film Stronger when Villeneuve called to say an emphatic yes.
After attempting to adapt the book as a feature film, the two thought it would be better suited for a limited series format given how much story the novel needed to cover. Marker approached Jonah Nolan, who after reading was immediately on board along with Kilter Films. Following Kilter Films success at HBO with their series Westworld finishing its third season, Nolan approached execs about the idea of turning this lucrative package into a series.
Bold Films’ David Litvak, Gary Michael Walters, Michel Litvak and Svetlana Metkina also serve as executive producers with Jo Nesbø and Niclas Salomonsson. Nine Stories Productions, Kilter Films and Bold Films will produce in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Gyllenhaal recently announced he will re-team with director Antoine Fuqua and star in The Guilty for Netflix, which Nine Stories will also produce. Gyllenhaal and Nine Stories are repped by WME.
Villeneuve’s adaptation of the highly anticipated Dune starring Timothee Chalamet was recently moved to bow next October. He is repped by CAA.
Kilter Films’ Westworld was recently picked up for a fourth season at HBO. Joy, Nolan and Kilter are repped by WME.
Zion co-created the upcoming Netflix series Brand New Cherry Flavor and also worked on the series Billions. She is repped by Ginsburg Daniels Kallis LLP
Nesbo is repped by Salomonsson Agency, WME and Keith Fleer.