‘The Brothers Lionheart’: Thomas Vinterberg Teams With Media Res For Limited Series Based On Astrid Lindgren’s Classic Book

Independent studio Media Res (The Morning Show) has enlisted Oscar-winning filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) to spearhead a TV adaptation of the Astrid Lindgren’s beloved children’s fantasy novel The Brothers Lionheart into an event limited series.

The Danish filmmaker will direct the potential family series, which he will co-write with Tony and Olivier Award playwight Simon Stephens (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime). Both will serve as executive producers, alongside Michael Ellenberg, Lars Blomgren and Lindsey Springer of Media Res, as well as The Astrid Lindgren Company. Development on the project begins this month.

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The Brothers Lionheart, from the renowned Swedish author of children’s classics such as Pippi Longstocking, Emil of Lönneberga and Karlsson-on-the-Roof, is a coming of age tale, nestled inside an epic fantasy adventure story.

The novel tells the story of two brothers – Karl and Jonathan Lion – as they leave the natural world and embark on the adventure of a lifetime in the mythical land of Nangiyala. Lindgren’s saga explores classic themes of love and loss, fear and courage, tyranny and rebellion, as the brothers must mature quickly to evade, uncover and defeat the dark, mystical forces threatening to terrorize the good people of the Wild Rose Valley.

The Brothers Lionheart was originally published in 1973. Since then, it has shaped millions of kids in Scandinavia, Europe and beyond, including Vinterberg, who grew up with the book.

The Brothers Lionheart is possibly the most important cultural legacy from my parents’ generation,” he said. “It stands as a milestone from my childhood, shining vividly in my memory. The project is a great responsibility and, at the same time, a significant dream-come-true to create the series based on this immense and moving tale – and in that way, help pass it on to my children’s generation.”

This marks the first announced project for Media Res International which was launched a little over a year ago with the hire of Lars Blomgren. Media Res, which acquired the Brothers Lionheart book in a competitive situation last year, recently received an investment from RedBird IMI for further expansion in both its domestic and international scripted initiatives.

“We are honored to be partnering with Thomas Vinterberg, The Astrid Lindgren Company and Simon Stephens to bring this seminal book to life for a new generation of fans around the world” said Blomgren, Head of Media Res International. “What a blessing to have this marriage of talent and material serve as Media Res international’s maiden voyage.”

The Brothers Lionheart, hailed as being in the fantasy tradition of magic, myth, poetry and adventure from the works of C. S. Lewis, J.R. Tolkien and Hayao Miyazaki, has been translated into 50 languages. Its single notable screen adaptation was the 1977 Swedish film written by Lindgren herself who adapted her book. The novel also has been turned into a musical.

Since his Cannes prize-winning film The Celebration, Vinterberg has directed both Danish and English language films including Oscar winner Another Round, Cannes prize winner The Hunt, and Searchlight’s Far From The Madding Crowd starring Carey Mulligan. He is currently in post-production on limited series Families Like Ours for Zentropa and Studio Canal. Vinterberg is repped by Gersh in the US and Independent in the UK.”

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