EXCLUSIVE: Norwegian indie producer Anders Tangen (Viafilm) is revolutionising TV drama practises by producing directly in Hollywood the US remake of Dag and filming both in English and Norwegian the comedy series Vikingane commissioned by NRK.

Less than a year after moving to Hollywood, Tangen has already closed a deal with Lionsgate TV and former ABC Entertainment boss Stephen McPherson who will produce with him the US version of the dark comedy series Dag created by Øysten Karlsen and Kristopher Schau. 

The remake written by Karlsen together with US writer Ric Swartzlander is in the middle of casting with well known actors and will soon be pitched to US broadcasters, including Netflix that co-produced Lilyhammer Season 2 and 3 and showed the original series Dag in Scandinavia.

Tangen told nordicfilmandtvnews: “When I moved to L.A., I had to learn how to operate in Hollywood. Everything takes time, in particular for TV drama. But thanks to Lilyhammer [produced for Rubicon TV], the good relationships I had with Netflix and Øysten’s experience as showrunner, we were able to convince Lionsgate to team up with us.”

The Norwegian show about a misanthropic relationship counsellor (played by Atle Antonsen) has been sold to 21 territories so far. In Norway Dag has been a running hit on TV2 and is nominated for five Gullruten or Norwegian television awards 2016, including for Best TV Drama, Best Script and Best Actor (Anders Baasmo Christiansen).

Besides supervising the remake of Dag, Tangen is also producing for NRK the comedy series Vikingane (pictured) pitched as Monty Python meets Game of Thrones. Written and directed by newcomers Jon Iver Helgaker and Jonas Torgersen, the series is currently filming in Rogaland with some of Lilyhammer talents including Trond Fausa Aurvåg, Marian Saastad Ottesen, Nils Jørgen Kaalstad and Silje Torp. 

Set in 790AD, Vikingane features the daily challenges of people living in a small Viking village, from power struggle, brother rivalry, gender equality, to betrayal and friendship. “It’s the story of people from our time, but living during the Viking era. Of course everyday choices have far more dramatic consequences and that makes for great comedy material,” says Tangen.

The producer says the series is particularly appealing for the international market because it is shot simultaneously in English and in Norwegian languages. “Broadcasters can choose the English or Norwegian version, it allows us to bypass the remake option, plus Norwegian actors who speak fluently English can use this as a calling card to boost their international career.”

“Basically we shoot on average four takes for every scene, three takes in Norwegian and one in English, then we take the versions to the studios and work on lip sinking to make each version cleaner,” explains Tangen. “If it works, it will be revolutionary. “

“We’re also shooting 14 days in parallel to make the filming shorter, with two directors, so the cost for the entire series remains very low [around $2 million]. 

Tangen is waiting to have 1-2 episodes ready in both languages to start pitching the show to world distributors. NRK will air Vikingane in October 2016 and has already ordered a second season for the fall 2017.