Director Baltasar Kormakur Talks HBO Series THE MISSIONARY

     November 27, 2012


One of the many projects HBO is developing is a cold war series called The Missionary.  If the pilot gets picked up, the series would take place during the 1960s and center on an American missionary (Benjamin Walker) who gets caught up in Cold War intrigue while helping a young woman escape East Berlin.  Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Levinson, and Mark Wahlberg will executive produce the pilot, Charles Randolph will pen the script, and Baltasar Kormákur will direct the pilot.

Recently I sat down with Kormákur (Contraband2 Guns) for an extended video interview and he gave me an update on the project.  He said the plan is to film the pilot in Hungary in April.  In addition, they’ll also shoot a couple of days in East Berlin, but he says Hungary looks most like East Berlin from the time period.  We also discussed casting, how he got involved in the pilot, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Finally, if you missed the portion of our interview covering his film The Deep (Iceland’s official Academy Award selection for Best Foreign Language Film), click here.  Look for more of my interview with Kormákur tomorrow night.

Baltasar KormakurBaltasar Kormakur Time Index:

  • :12 How did he get involved with the pilot?
  • :49 Talks about the plot “An American that is helping a girl escaping eastern Berlin and crossing the wall gets stuck in East Berlin.  And then it rolls into a bit of a Cold War spy thing.”
  • 1:14 Says he’s supposed to film in April. They’re casting now and they just set Benjamin Walker as the lead.
  • 1:50 How involved is he in casting compared to HBO? Talks about the process of casting a TV show.  “Well it’s mostly with the showrunner and the producer, Steve Levin and Charles Randolph, that I’m having this dialogue with.  It’s pretty much the same way I do a film at this point, the reason I believe I’m there is because they want my opinion and I’ll fight for what I want.  Of course you’ve gotta have in mind where the show is gonna go because ultimately it’s gonna be the life of the show, that the cast can go to the places that the show is going to.  So being informed with that, I just want the show to be successful, not only the pilot.  So I’m just finding the right people that I believe can carry this, and fortunately we have been very much in line, so it hasn’t come down to a fight or something about the cast.”
  • 2:53 Says they’re planning on filming mostly in Hungary.  They’ll also shoot a couple of days in East Berlin, but Hungary looks most like East Berlin looked like back then.