Swedish director Johan Renck will helm the first three episodes of ‘Vikings,’ the Irish co-produced series for The History Channel which has begun pre-production at Ashford Studios in Ballyhenry, Co Wicklow.
The €30m series, which has been slimmed down from 10 episodes to nine, is being co-produced by Morgan O’Sullivan’s World 2000 and will be filmed this summer in three production blocks lasting 18-weeks in total.
Pre-production on the series got underway last Monday (May 7) with the production office officially opened at Ashford Studios as work on set-building began.
Renck will begin shooting on the series this summer with filming currently scheduled to begin in Wicklow in the second week of July.
No decisions have yet been made on who will direct block two and three of the production, while producers are currently casting for the series.
Renck’s previous directorial work includes episodes of AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘The Walking Dead,’ although he is perhaps best known for his work on commercials for Nike and Mercedes, as well as music videos for major acts such as Beyoncé, Robbie Williams, Madonna and New Order.
Irish crew so far attached to the project include line producer Séamus McInerney, costume designer Joan Bergin and production designer Tom Conroy. IFTN understands that the majority of the crew will mirror that used on ‘The Tudors’ and ‘Camelot,’ O’Sullivan’s previous productions with ‘Vikings’ creator and writer Michael Hirst. Both of those shows were also filmed in Ireland.
Last March, IFTN reported that The History Channel has ordered a full-series of ‘Vikings.’ The series will chronicle the world of the Norsemen during medieval times and will be the first scripted drama to air on the cable network TV channel. It will focus the exploits of on historical figure Ragnar Lothbrok and his band of Viking brothers as Lothbrok rises to become king of the Viking tribes.
It is also the first production to use Joe O’Connell’s newly-built €22m Ashford Studios, which has previously been referred to as ‘Ballyhenry Studios’.
Canada’s Take 5 Productions will co-produce the series with World 2000 while MGM will distribute it outside of Ireland and Canada.