'The Son': Jake Gyllenhaal And Denis Villeneuve Are Working On A Scandi Crime Drama

Esquire Editors
·2-min read
Photo credit: DAVID SLIJPER
Photo credit: DAVID SLIJPER

From Esquire

Dark Scandinavian crime dramas. Jake Gyllenhaal wearing a big coat, frowning. Both very, very good things, we’re sure you’ll agree.

So praise be to HBO and Dune director Denis Villeneuve, who have just announced that they are combining the two for a moody miniseries based on Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø’s celebrated third novel, The Son.

It’s a long way off, for obvious reasons. Still, here’s everything we know about it so far.

Photo credit: Denis Villeneuve
Photo credit: Denis Villeneuve

The Son – a story of endless corruption

Released in 2014 to much fanfare, The Son tells the stand-alone story of a young heroin addict, called Sonny Lofthus, who has been imprisoned for half of his life for crimes he didn’t commit. Who, pray tell, is ensuring that he stays locked up? Lofthus soon discovers that he is pinned under a hierarchy of corruption that involves the prison chiefs, police force, judicial system, the clergy and, ultimately, the criminal underworld. A steady supply of drugs keeps Lofthus incurious, but a shocking piece of information about his family history finally snaps him out of his stupor and sets him on a grisly mission of discovery and revenge. Naturally.

Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

The team behind Westworld are involved

Jonathan Nolan (brother of Christopher, co-writer of The Dark Knight) and Lisa Joy have signed up to executive produce and act as showrunners.

“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,” Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO Programming, told Variety.

She also went into detail on Villeneuve’s involvement. “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.”

The author, Jo Nesbø, is also attached to executive produce.

It was originally intended to be a film

According to Variety, Gyllenhaal brought the book to Villeneuve and he immediately signed on, with hopes of turning it into a feature-length movie. They soon changed their minds, however.

It will be Gyllenhaal’s first regular role on a TV show

Sure, he made appearances in shows like Inside Amy Schumer, but this will prove to be his first involvement in a television show – which is surprising, when you consider the fact that many A-listers have been clamouring for their own prestige series for years now. It will also be his third collaboration with Villeneuve following the critically-acclaimed 2013 features Prisoners and Enemy.

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