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Sky and HBO drama Chernobyl to tell true story of the disaster

Wednesday, March 21st 2018 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson and Jared Harris are to star in Chernobyl, a new drama from Sky and HBO based on real-life events surrounding the nuclear disaster.

The five-part series promises to bring the true story of the tragedy to life, telling the stories of the men and women who made incredible sacrifices in order to prevent an even greater disaster.

Chernobyl is the first project to be greenlit as part of Sky’s 250m USD co-production investment deal with HBO and filming is due to begin in Lithuania in spring 2018. There’s no word yet on when the series might air, but we know it will be shown on Sky Atlantic and will therefore also be available via the streaming service NOW TV.

Skarsgård (Good Will Hunting, Mamma Mia) and Watson (Punch-Drunk Love, Apple Tree Yard) will be appearing together for the first time in more than 20 years, since starring in 1996 Cannes Film Festival winner Breaking the Waves.

Skarsgård will play Boris Shcherbina, the head of the Bureau for Fuel and Energy of the USSR appointed leader of the government commission on Chernobyl in the immediate aftermath of the accident, while Watson is Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet nuclear physicist trying to solve the scientific mystery of what led to the disaster so it never happens again.

'Significant piece of work'

They will be joined by Harris (Mad Men, The Crown), who is taking on the role of Valery Legasov, the Soviet scientist chosen by the Kremlin to investigate the accident.

Skarsgård said: “Nobody would see it as a privilege to spend five months in a dilapidated nuclear plant, unless it was to play in a script like this by Craig Mazin, work with a director like Johan Renck, collaborate with a producer like Jane Featherstone, jam with an actor like Jared Harris and finally be at the feet of Emily Watson whom I have been missing for some twenty years.”

Watson said: “This is a significant piece of work and I'm honoured to be part of it. I can't wait to get started with this amazing group of people, and am especially excited to be working with Stellan again.”

As well as producing new television content both on its own and alongside companies such as HBO, Sky is also moving into the world of movie making.

Sky Cinema Original Films was launched earlier this year and has already released its first film – Monster Family, which coincidentally also stars Emily Watson. At least half a dozen more movies are expected to be released this year, including Hurricane Heist starring Maggie Grace and Toby Kebbell.

The films are made available to Sky Cinema customers at the same time as they’re released in cinemas.

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