Viaplay, the Swedish subscription streaming service owned by Modern Times Group (MTG), will produce its first original series with Matrix star Keanu Reeves cast in a featured role.
The comedic detective series, entitled Swedish Dicks, is currently shooting in L.A. and is set to premiere exclusively on Viaplay this fall. The series stars Peter Stormare (Prison Break, Fargo) and Sweden’s top comedian Johan Glans. Reeves has signed on to appear in several episodes.
Showrunner Peter Settman said in a statement that the series is structured to encourage binge watching, a case featured in each episode and a longer mystery woven throughout the whole 10-episode season.
The first season centers around Ingmar (Stormare), an ex stunt man, now trying to survive as a small-time private detective in downtown Los Angeles. One day his life takes a new turn when he stumbles into Axel (Glans), a former DJ. Together they start their own investigation firm, Swedish Dicks, taking on strange cases in LA. Reeves stars as Ingmar’s former stunt buddy, Tex.
Settman called the story “a great mix of light and dark humor — both silly and smart comedy which makes it a blast to shoot.”
The cast also includes Vivian Bang, Felisha Cooper, Traci Lords and Eric Roberts.
Swedish Dicks is an American production, produced in collaboration with L.A.-based Viking Brothers Entertainment and prodco Brain Academy, part of MTG-owned Nice Entertainment Group. Created by The Viking Brothers, Andrew Lowery and Settman.
Jakob Mejlhede Andersen, EVP and group head of programming and content development at MTG, said the series is attracting interest from international broadcast and TV companies. However, he did not provide further details.
In an interview in August with StreamDaily, Rikard Steiber, former chief digital officer for MTG, said the U.S. and other English-speaking markets are key targets for future expansion by the European media co. Along with its linear properties, MTG operates several digital offerings, including the Viaplay SVOD, an ad-supported VOD platform and two multi-channel networks.
Building up partnerships with major U.S. prodcos (as MTG did with Nickelodeon last year when it secured the exclusive stand-alone VOD rights to children’s programming for its Viaplay service) is a big part of that growth strategy.
Steiber left MTG in January 2016 to lead the virtual reality team at the San Francisco-based mobile-tech firm HTC.