HBO Europe Greenlights Swedish Original Beartown


HBO Europe has greenlit the Swedish drama Beartown, an adaption of the best-selling novel by Fredrik Backman.

Produced by Filmlance International, part of Endemol Shine Group, Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, the courage it takes for an individual to go against the group and the consequences of how boys are raised. Peter Grönlund will direct the 5×1-hour series, written by Anders Weidemann, Antonia Pyk and Linn Gottfridsson.

Bonnie Skoog Feeney and Mattias Arehn, producers at Filmlance International, said: “We fell in love with Beartown the first time we read it. It is a story you feel in both your stomach and your heart. Backman has created a universe with characters who give everything—for their town, for their sport and for their children. We want to create a drama where everything is at stake, where we see and feel all of the different sides of humanity—not only in the characters we are depicting but in ourselves as well. In order to do Beartown justice we have assembled a team with high artistic vision; talented screenwriters, a strong director with a unique voice and a brave and engaged partner in HBO Europe that shares our vision. Filmlance is incredibly proud of this fantastic team and very happy for our new partnerships.”

Antony Root, executive VP of programming and production at HBO Europe, said: “Fredrik Backman’s novel combines an utterly compelling story, characters that jump off the page, a unique setting, and the exhilaration and drama of competitive sport while exploring deeply resonant themes of community, masculinity, youth and hope. In short, it’s dream material for an HBO drama. We’re thrilled to be working with such an exceptional creative team to bring it to the screen.”

Hanne Palmquist, commissioning editor and VP of original programming for HBO Nordic, added: “Rarely do you read a book where not just the characters and the story but even the sounds from the arena you just visited stay with you. Beartown is such a book, you literally move in—you become a part of Beartown and Beartown becomes a part of you. Our ambition is to embody that sensation and create a powerful, emotional and unforgettable drama. We’re honored to have such talented writers, producers, and not least director Peter Grönlund on board to share in this ambition.”