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Cast news and first image for Babylon Berlin TV-series

An A-list cast of German actors has joined the cast of Babylon Berlin, the upcoming period crime series co-written and co-directed by A Hologram for The King helmer Tom Tykwer.

Lars Eidinger, currently appearing alongside Kristen Stewart in Cannes competition title Personal Shopper, will co-star in the new project, together with Victoria star Frederick Lau, Karl Markovics (The Counterfeiters) and Christian Friedel (The White Ribbon).

Hannah Herzsprung (Four Minutes), Sebastian Urzendowski (Borgia) and Matthias Brandt (Counterparts) are also part of the ensemble cast of the new series, which Tykwer co-wrote and is co-directing with Hendrik Handloegten, screenwriter on the Golden Globe-nominated Good Bye Lenin! and Achim von Borries, who penned the script to Emma Thompson/Brendan Gleeson starrer Alone in Berlin.

Volker Bruch, whose credits include roles in The Reader and The Baader Meinhof Complex, stars in Babylon Berlin as Gereon Rath, a police inspector in Berlin in the Roaring Twenties, when the city was a world capital of art and social emancipation but also of crime and political extremism. Liv Lisa Fries ( The Wave) will play his lover, Charlotte. The show is based on the series of best-selling novels by German writer Volker Kutscher.

Babylon Berlin is currently in production, with the first two eight-episode seasons set for delivery next year. Tykwer's production shingle X Filme is producing together with German public broadcaster ARD, pay-TV outlet Sky and Beta Film, which also is handling international sales. Sky will broadcast the series in 2017 and ARD in 2018.

Stefan Arndt, Uwe Schott, and Michael Polle are producing Babylon Berlin for X Filme, with Jan Mojto and Dirk Schurhoff of Beta Film as co-producers.

With a budget of just under €40 million ($45 million), Babylon Berlin is one of the most expensive series ever made in Germany. The producers are planning a 200-day shoot for the first two seasons, with more than 250 speaking roles and some 5,000 extras. Production designer and frequent Tykwer collaborator Uli Hanisch ( A Hologram for the King, Perfume — The Story of a Murderer) has been tasked with recreating both the Art Nouveau glitter and the grimy back alleys of 1920s Berlin.

Judging by the first image of the show (above) provided exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter, Hanisch and the producers are going for a Peaky Blinders-style period cool. The picture, shot by Tykwer himself, shows Bruch in a grey fedora, his face in shadows, lit only by fuzzy neon lights behind him spelling out the film's title.

The Hollywood Reporter, 18th May

Sandstone Press has today published Babylon Berlin, £8.99, by Volker Kutscher. It is the first novel in the Gereon Rath series.

Volker Kutscher

Volker Kutscher