Show of the Week: So Long, Marianne

So Long, Marianne (Source: NRK/Crave/Cineflix Rights/Redpoint)

Romantic drama following the love story between Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter perhaps best known for his iconic Hallelujah, and an extraordinary Norwegian woman named Marianne Ihlen.

The 8 x 60-minute series is an intimate tale of two lonely people falling in love during a period of their lives when they are trying to figure out who they are and their places in the world, while one is becoming one of the most famous singers of all time.

Spanning more than a decade, between 1957 and 1969, their story crosses the world, travelling from Oslo to Hydra, New York and Montreal, with the majority of the series set on the picturesque Greek island of Hydra where they lived during the 1960s.

The show creators dug deep to get to the heart of their love affair, reveals Ingeborg Klyve, executive producer at Redpoint Productions: “We have been in touch with, and had a lot of meetings with Marianne’s family and friends, read every book we could get our hands on, spoke to Leonard’s family, to Ira Nadell who travelled with Leonard and wrote the only biography that Leonard described as a ‘tolerated biography’.

“We read letters, spoke to people who played with Cohen and watched documentaries. The series is inspired by true stories, so there is quite a lot that’s true to reality, but also quite a lot of fiction.”

Klyve adds: “A story like this is universal. It’s about looking for your place in the world, about finding who you are, leaving home for the first time, discovering a love that in different shapes would last a lifetime. It is a gut wrecking, real and a beautiful love story about being young, taking chances and following your dreams, told through the perspective of a guy who just happened to become a superstar.”

Tom Misselbrook, SVP of scripted sales & development at Cineflix Rights, meanwhile, sees great international potential in the series, which he describes as “one of the most epic love stories of the 20th century.”

The fact that it involves the much-revered musician Leonard Cohen means that there is “naturally a lot of intrigue and excitement around this series already,” he says.

“We have a fantastic cast led by the brilliant Alex Wolff (Oppenheimer, A Quiet Place: Day One) as Leonard and the scintillating Thea Sofie Loch Næss (The Last Kingdom) opposite him as Marianne, as well as some standout turns from Anna Torv (The Last of Us, The Newsreader) and Noah Taylor (Foundation, Peaky Blinders).”

Misselbrook adds that having the likes of NRK, Bell, ITV, NDR and Cosmote aboard is “a testament to the strength of the series” and that Cineflix Rights has “high ambitions” for the show.

Producer: Redpoint Productions, C3 Media & Tanweer Productions
Distributor: Cineflix Rights
Broadcasters: NRK (Norway), Crave (Canada), ITVX (UK), NDR (Germany), Cosmote TV & Star Channel (Greece), Movies Best HD (Cyprus)
Logline: Fact-based romantic drama following the love story between the iconic Canadian musician Leonard Cohen and an extraordinary Norwegian woman Marianne Ihlen

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