EXCLUSIVE: Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones, SAS: Rogue Heroes), Charlie Murphy (Peaky Blinders, Happy Valley) and Jack Gleeson (Game of Thrones, Sex Education) are to star in a Dutch-Belgian thriller series from Ozark co-creator Mark Williams, Night Train Media and Submarine.
They are starring alongside emerging Dutch star Martijn Lakemeier in the eight-part drama, which is for Dutch streamer Videoland and Belgium’s Streamz.
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Production has begun in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, with Williams directing along with Arne Toonen, and we hear the ambition is for Safe Harbor to be a returner that aims to balance edge-of-the-seat thrills with character-based stories and a twisty plot line. Further shooting will take place in Belgium and Ireland, Deadline understands.
The series follows gifted hacker Tobias (Allen) and his ambitious best friend Marco (Lakemeier), who are intent on cracking into the tech billionaires club. They are plucked from quiet obscurity and plunged headfirst into the chaos of organised crime when they cross paths with the Irish mob. Leading the family’s operations in Holland are Sloane (Murphy) and her brother Farrell (Gleeson), who enlist their services to hack into the security system of Rotterdam harbour — Europe’s largest shipping port — to secure the undetected deliveries of drug shipments.
A big-name star is being sought for a patriarch role, father to Sloane and Farrell, in the Irish mob, we hear.
Williams, who created Netflix crime drama Ozark alongside Bill Dubuque, is writer and showrunner. He will produce through his Zero Gravity label alongside Germany’s Night Train and the Netherlands’ Submarine.
Herbert L. Kloiber’s Night Train is financing the show and controls worldwide distribution rights, which will be shopped by its sales subsidiary, Eccho Rights. Williams, Kloiber and Submarine’s Femke Wolting are executive producers alongside Night Train’s James Copp and Adam Barth. The series is financially supported by Creative Europe, ScreenFlanders and the Netherlands Film Fund and delivery is expected in Q3 of 2024.
The series is the latest example of a buzzy European co-production featuring international and U.S. talent. Streamz, owned by DPG Media and Telenet, is also involved in Northern Lights, the Irish drama from Stephen Jones we revealed last year that has Lionsgate Television attached. RTL Nederlands-owned Videoland, which has a slate including Mocro Maffia and Sleepers, is branching out in European co-productions under Head of Drama Mylène Verdurmen.
“As a local Dutch streamer we are absolutely thrilled to create a Videoland Original show together with Mark Williams and this amazing cast”, said Verdurmen.
Primetime Emmy nominee Allen is best known for his role as Theon Greyjoy in HBO’s Game of Thrones and recently starred in Steven Knight’s BBC drama SAS: Rogue Heroes. He’s also appeared in Jojo Rabbit, John Wick, The Predator and How to Build a Girl and was Tony-nominated for his Broadway stage debut in Marton McDonagh’s Hangmen.
Murphy was an IFTA winner for her roles in BBC dramas Happy Valley and Peaky Blinders — also a Steven Knight-scripted drama — and Gleeson rose to fame for his role as villainous young king Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones. Lakemeier is signed on for another big-ticket Videoland series, Maxima, and has starred in Prime Video’s The East.
For Williams, who co-founded management and production company Zero Gravity with his brother Eric Williams, the series comes after the Jason Bateman and Laura Linney-starring Ozark ended on Netflix after four seasons in 2022. Zero Gravity’s credits include Liam Neeson vehicles Blacklight, Honest Thief and The Marksman, Gerard Butler starrer A Family Man and The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick.
“At the core of this exciting, edge of your seat series is a family of friends who find themselves in dangerous, life-changing situations with some very bad players who force our heroes to challenge themselves and each other to grow as people,” said Williams. “It all adds up to an entertaining show especially when you throw in the high-octane action in exotic European port locations and tense thrills along with splashes of romance and humor.”
Former Tele München Group Managing Director Kloiber launched Night Train in February 2020 as a financing, production, co-production and licensing business with bases in Munich and London. It owns Eccho, BossaNova Media and UK producer Curve Media. Recent projects include The Inheritance and The Catch for UK network Channel 5, The Vanishing Triangle for Sundance Now, The Ex-Wife for Paramount+ and feature film Rogue Agent, starring James Norton and Gemma Arterton.
“Bringing together such stellar international talent from the UK, US and Europe has been incredibly exciting,” said Kloiber, Night Train’s CEO. “This show has always felt completely fresh and new: speaking to a youth that are disappointed with the old-school structures of the world and want to seek their fortunes however they can.”
Amsterdam-based Submarine is known for working on drama, docs and animation projects. The Mediawan-owned company’s scripted slate includes drama series The Kollective written by Gomorrah and ZeroZeroZero showrunner Leonardo Fasoli, sci-fi thriller Echo Boy from author Matt Haig, and A.D.D., an esports-themed thriller series from Nick Luddington that we first told you about last year. Animation includes Prime Video’s Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy series Undone and Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 ½, which was for Netflix. Company co-founder and co-CEO Wolting was also behind Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World, a doc series that led to the development of The Kollective.
She said: “We are really proud to have such a great team onboard, from across the globe, all working together to create a unique crime thriller, one that explores the distinct and rich worlds of cutting-edge crime and the iconic Rotterdam and Antwerp ports. To have Mark Williams, Arne Toonen and a cast as talented as we do, this will make the show must watch TV.”
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