ZDF Studios to partner with ACT4 on development of new Nordic crime thriller 'Big Brother'

Mainz, June 4th, 2024

ZDF Studios is pleased to announce a partnership with ACT4 to develop the Icelandic production company’s new Nordic thriller Big Brother.

Big Brother is based on Skúli Sigurdsson’s award-winning debut novel with actor, producer, screenwriter and ACT4 co-founder Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Tourist, Severance) at the helm as showrunner and executive producer.

Big Brother is a tale about revenge and justice. Every full moon a man is severely beaten by what appears to be the same perpetrator, a figure dressed in black who vanishes into the night like a ghost. The victims are carefully chosen: sexual offenders who’ve evaded punishment. A detective and an investigative journalist set out to solve the series of mysterious crimes. Meanwhile, the story is also told from the perspective of the assailant, who sees himself as an agent of justice for those who have suffered when society fails to mete out proper punishment.

Yi Qiao, Director Drama, ZDF Studios: “We are excited to partner with ACT4 on the adaptation of Skúli Sigurdsson’s brilliantly crafted novel. The characters, the storytelling from two different points of view and the heightened suspense as the plot unfolds makes for a chilling, binge-worthy drama.”

Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, ACT4: “As a crime fiction, the tale of Big Brother is thrilling and brutal, a very suspenseful narrative. It rises above its genre as it poses a difficult question for our society: Someone is taking it upon himself to punish sexual offenders when our justice system fails. Gradually his actions become more brutal and he starts killing his victims. Who do we side with, the self-proclaimed warrior of justice or the people who are trying to catch a murderer?”

ACT4 was founded in 2023 by a group of award-winning Icelandic film industry veterans Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, True Detective, The Tourist), Hörður Rúnarsson (Black Sands, Fractures, Journey), Jónas Margeir Ingólfsson (The Minister 1 & 2, Stella Blómkvist II, Thin Ice) and Birkir Blær Ingólfsson (The Minister 1 & 2, Thin Ice). The team  joined forces with a group of international investors and built a new independent Nordic production powerhouse.

The company optioned Big Brother last year, seeing it’s potential for the big screen. The author, Skúli Sigurdsson, a lawyer and former journalist, won the Icelandic Crime Novel Award and was nominated for the Glass Key Award. 

The writers room for Big Brother is led by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson. The team consists of actress Aníta Briem who wrote and created the series As Long as We Live, Anna Gunndís Guðmundsdóttir and Teitur Magnússon.


About ZDF Studios 

ZDF Studios is a commercial subsidiary of ZDF, one of the largest TV broadcasters in Europe. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Mainz, Germany, the ZDF Studios Group operates more than 30 direct and indirect subsidiaries and affiliates in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom spanning TV production, distribution and services. The parent company, ZDF Studios, is responsible for global programme distribution, realisation of international co-productions, acquisition of licences and merchandising of successful programme brands under its own name, for ZDF and third parties. ZDF Studios has the largest German-language programme inventory in the world and a constantly growing range of international productions, consisting of series and mini-series, television films, documentaries and children's programmes. 

The companies of the ZDF Studios Group cover the entire value chain from the development of scripted and unscripted TV content to production, marketing and monetizing, including TV and streaming licences as well as merchandising and online rights. The positioning of ZDF Studios as an integrated media company enables the development of innovative, outstanding and high-quality programmes and makes the Group an attractive workplace for German and international talent to flourish in a very inspiring and creative environment.

Contact ZDF Studios
Christine Denilauler (VP Marketing and Corporate Communications), ZDF Studios GmbH, Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1, D-55127 Mainz/Germany, Tel.: +49 6131-9911130, E-mail: christine.denilauler@zdf-studios.com, www.zdf-studios.com