via press release:
HISTORY® ANNOUNCES GOLDEN GLOBE WINNER GABRIEL BYRNE TO STAR IN
New York, May 21 2012 – HISTORY announced today that Golden Globe® Award winner and Emmy® Award nominated actor Gabriel Byrne (, Usual Suspects, Millers Crossing) will star as Earl Haraldson in the network’s first scripted series, VIKINGS, set to premiere in 2013. The announcement was made by Nancy Dubuc, President & General Manager, HISTORY.
VIKINGS will chronicle the extraordinary and ferocious world of the mighty Norsemen who raided, traded and explored during medieval times. It follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok, an historical figure, and the greatest hero of his age – and the gripping sagas of Ragnar’s band of Viking brothers and his family – as he rises to become King of the Viking tribes.
Earl Haraldson was the most important ruler in Ragnar’s district. A man of limited vision, he suspects Ragnar’s ambitions and goes head to head with him in a struggle for power and glory. Once a mighty warrior, the Earl, a mighty political leader in his own right, will take on Ragnar, his opposite in every way: a lowly farmer; a young man thirsting for knowledge, and a descendant of the gods.
Created and written by Michael Hirst – one of the premier historical story-tellers in the industry (Academy-Award winning film Elizabeth; and the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated series The Tudors), Michael serves as Executive Producer along with Morgan O’Sullivan of World 2000 (The Count of Monte Cristo; The Tudors), John Weber of Take 5 Productions (The Tudors;), Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, James Flynn (The Tudors; ) and Sheila Hockin (The Tudors; ).
VIKINGS is an international Irish/Canadian co-production being co-produced by World 2000 and Take 5 Productions. HISTORY will broadcast domestically. MGM will bring VIKINGS to the global audience, serving as the international distributor outside of Ireland and Canada. Shaw Media will be the broadcast partner in Canada, airing the show on HISTORY Television in Canada. Nancy Dubuc, Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs will serve as the executives on behalf of HISTORY.
The Viking name is synonymous with brutality, terror and mystery, as it was from the very beginning when the first war bands appeared along the coasts of England and France at the end of the 8th century. The Viking reputation for brutality, exercised without pity or conscience, was an important part of the mythology that grew up around them.
VIKINGS will not look at Viking culture from the outside, but from within the heart of Viking society. It will be a series high on adventure, exploration, conflict, warfare and bloodshed – for these were extreme times – but, at its heart, it will also be a family saga.
The series will be filmed at Ashford Studios, a newly built studio facility in Ireland. Ireland has been home not only to such acclaimed recent TV dramas as The Tudors and Camelot, but also to treasured feature films such as Braveheart, My Left Foot, Excalibur, Barry Lyndon and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. All post production, visual effects, sound design and music composition will take place in Canada.
Mr. Byrne joins cast member George Blagden who will play Athelstan, an Anglo-Saxon monk captured by Ragnar on his first raid on England. Gabriel Byrne is represented by his long time Irish agent Teri Hayden and Paradigm.