Hunting for the next Steig Larsson in Cannes

Mon May 16, 2011 7:28pm EDT
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By Scott Roxborough

CANNES, France (Hollywood Reporter) - The global success of the "Millennium" films — $175 million worldwide not counting David Fincher's upcoming U.S. remake - has buyers in Cannes scrambling to find a Scandinavian crime machine to replace "Millennium's" late author Stieg Larsson.

Some of the prime candidates - including Norway's Jo Nesbo and Swedish crime queens Camilla Lackberg and Lisa Marklund - were walking the Croisette this week, promoting adaptations of their bestselling chillers.

These films - "Headhunters," "The German Child" and "Nobel's Last Will" — are some of the first Scandinavian crime dramas to hit the market post-"Millennium," so anticipation is high.

Not in Cannes, but still on the Nordic to-watch list are Jens Lapidus, whose Stockholm noir trilogy spawned the hit film "Easy Money," picked up for the U.S. by The Weinstein Co. and for a U.S. remake by Warner Bros. And Lars Kepler, whose "The Hypnotist," the first book in a planned eight-book series, is being adapted for the big screen by Swedish Hollywood-director Lasse Hallstrom.

Aside from geography, what these authors share with Larsson and what's causing buyers to salivate, is they bring with them proven franchises with books that have sold in dozens of territories.

Marklund's series on tabloid crime journalist Annika Bengtzon have sold some 10 million copies. Nesbo's novels, including those featuring alcoholic Oslo detective Harry Hole, are available in 40 countries. Lackberg's "Fjallbacka Murder" books, including "The German Child," have moved 8 million copies worldwide.

Lackberg just returned from a U.S. tour to Cannes, where TrustNordisk is pre-selling "The Fjallbacka Murders," planned as two features films and TV series based on the adventures of small town author and crime solver Erica Falck.

"I know everyone's looking for the next Stieg Larsson. Well, I'm available," Lackberg joked, adding that the success of "Millennium" "opened up the door for Scandinavian writers. Suddenly, we're on the map."   Continued...