Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar’s latest project takes place over eight episodes and follows the mysterious circumstances around the voyage of an immigrant ship from Europe to New York.
Onboard the ship is passengers from different backgrounds and nationalities, all en route to America in the hopes of a better life and greater opportunities. However, when they come about another passenger ship that had been missing for months, their journey takes an unexpected turn and their voyage to the promised land becomes a journey into a nightmare.
1899 features an international cast that includes Emily Beecham, Aneurin Barnard, Andreas Pietschmann, Miguel Bernardeau, Maciej Musial, Lucas Lynggaard Tonnesen, Rosalie Craig, Clara Rosager, Maria Erwolter, Yann Gael, Mathilde Ollivier, José Pimentao, Isabella Wei, Gabby Wong, Jonas Bloquet, Fflyn Edwards, Alexandre Willaume and Anton Lesser, among others.
The actors will all speak in their native tongue throughout the series which is a multi-lingual drama that is currently in production just outside of Berlin.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “the series will be shot entirely on a virtual production stage with the studio’s new cutting-edge LED-Volume technology, which uses video game engine technology to create virtual sets and locations, allowing complex visual effects shots to be made in-camera.”
In an interview with Deadline, Friese and Odar explained that the decision to build the expensive studio set was born out of the restrictions of the pandemic.
“We are very old school filmmakers. We’re used to going on real locations, using real sounds and stuff like that, that was the plan for this show,” Odar said. “The pandemic really hit us, and we had to discuss how we could do a pan-European show during this time – it was really the worst idea. Quite quickly we realized it would not be possible in the near future.
“We originally planned to travel to Spain, Poland, Scotland, all kinds of locations,” adds Friese. “Quite quickly [after the pandemic started] we knew that might not be possible in the new future, so we fully embraced the idea of bringing Europe to us.”
Friese and Odar have their own big shoes to fill with the new series after Dark became Netflix’s third most-watched international series in America.
“Knowing that we did Dark, everyone can be assured that this (1899) is going to be something weird and wild and crazy,” said Odar.