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Jack O'Connell joins Colin Farrell in BBC's The North Water


Story by Jack Foley

BAFTA award-winning actor Jack O’Connell has joined Colin Farrell in BBC Two four-part thriller The North Water.

Based on the critically acclaimed novel from Ian McGuire, and directed by multi award-winning Andrew Haigh (Lean on Pete, Looking, Weekend), the series will be set in the UK and the ice floes of the Arctic in the late 1850s.

The North Water tells the story of Patrick Sumner (O’Connell), a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as ship’s doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic.

On board he meets Henry Drax (Farrell), the harpooner, a brutish killer whose amorality has been shaped to fit the harshness of his world. Hoping to escape the horrors of his past, Sumner finds himself on an ill-fated journey with a murderous psychopath.

In search of redemption, his story becomes a harsh struggle for survival in the Arctic wasteland.

Haigh commented: “Jack is a fiercely instinctual actor who brings nuance and complexity to every character he plays. I can’t wait to see him bring Patrick Sumner to life.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, added: “Jack is one of the most fearless and instinctive actors of his generation and is the perfect choice to bring The North Water’s troubled and ambiguous hero to life.”

A gripping and original novel of murder, mystery and survival, The North Water has topped critic’s lists around the world and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and named A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.

The story is being brought to life by See-Saw Films, firmly established for delivering multi award winning mini-series and working with extraordinary writers and directors such as Jane Campion for Top of the Lake and Top of the Lake: China Girl.

O’Connell next stars opposite Laura Dern in Roadside Attraction’s Trial By Fire. Later this year, he stars opposite Kristen Stewart in Against All Enemies and opposite Charlie Hunnam in Jungleland.

O’Connell first found fame as the hard-living James Cook on the E4 teen series Skins, which was followed by other lead roles in the television dramas Dive and United. He then acted in a myriad of films including his critically acclaimed performances in the independent films Starred Up and 71.

Filming will begin in autumn 2019.