Operation Gunnerside – the Allied’s 1943 commando raid at Norsk Hydro’s plant at Vemork, Rjukan, in Norway, to stop production of heavy water for Nazi Germany’s atomic bomb – will be revived for a new $15 million (NOK 80 million) six-hour television drama series, which Norwegian public broadcaster NRK will shoot from the autumn with Norway’s Filmkameratene and Denmark’s Sebasto Film, in collaboration with the UK’s Headline Pictures.
”The legendary sabotage attack will be put into historic perspective, in this depiction of Hitler’s hope of acquiring the atomic bomb and thereby winning World War II,” explained Norwegian producer John M Jacobsen [pictured], of Filmkameratene, which most recently backed local blockbusters Troll Hunter and Max Manus.
Scripted by Norwegian writer Petter S Rosenlund, the as-yet-untitled series starts in 1930s Germany, where scientists were examining the possibilities to invent ”a weapon of mass destruction for the Nazi state. It concludes with the collapse of the Third Reich and the same scientists denying their previous, ultimate goal.”
The Norsk Hydro bombing was pictured in Jean Drévilla-Titus Vibe-Müllers French-Norwegian film Kampen om tungtvannet (1948), more spectacular in US director Anthony Mann’s Heroes of Telemark (1965), with Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, also in a BBC television series, The Real Heroes of Telemark (2003).
”However this is the first time ”the whole story” will be dramatised, moving – as the historical events - between Germany, England, Norway and Denmark,” Jacobsen concluded. ”The famous military and scientific characters involved in the different countries will be portrayed by well-known actors speaking their own language.”
The series, which will be ready for delivery in 2013, is packaged as Norwegian, Danish, German and UK venture, and produced by Jacobsen and Sveinung Golimo for Filmkameratene, Morten Fisker for Sebato Film, Tone Rønning and Petter Wallace for Norwegian television. Director and cast are yet to be named.