The North Water TV Series Overview


Introduction

The North Water is a BBC Two five-part television series, based on Ian McGuire’s novel of the same name.

The series premiered on AMC+ on 15 July 2021.

Outline

Colin Farrell plays Henry Drax in the drama, a harpooner and brutish killer whose amorality has been shaped to fit the harshness of his world, who will set sail on a whaling expedition to the Arctic with Patrick Sumner, a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as the ship’s doctor.

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.

Cast

  • Colin Farrell as Henry Drax.
  • Jack O’Connell as Patrick Sumner.
  • Stephen Graham as Captain Arthur Brownlee.
  • Tom Courtenay as Baxter.
  • Sam Spruell as Michael Cavendish.
  • Peter Mullan as the Priest.
  • Roland Møller as Otto.
  • Kieran Urquhart as Jones.
  • Philip Hill-Pearson as McKendrick.
  • Nive Nielsen as Anna.
  • Jonathan Aris as Corbyn.
  • Lee Knight as Stevens.
  • Gary Lamont as Webster.
  • Eliza Butterworth as Hester.
  • Mark Rowley as Bain.

Production

The series first began development in late 2016.

It was announced in February 2019 that Colin Farrell had been cast to star in the miniseries. Jack O’Connell was added in April. with Stephen Graham, Tom Courtenay and Peter Mullan amongst additional cast announced. Filming of the drama started in October 2019, in Hungary and on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard (Spitzbergen), with the production team journeying north as far as 81 degrees, to shoot pack ice sequences, which is purported to be the furthest point north any television drama has ever been filmed.

In March 2020, filming had to be paused when quite close to wrapping, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The remaining four days of filming were completed at a later date, at a studio in the UK. It aired in July 2021.

In May 2019, Canadian composer and sound artist Tim Hecker announced that he had been hired as the show’s composer.

Reception

The North Water has received positive reviews from critics.

Similar TV Series

The Terror, a similar TV series (Season 01) set aboard a ship stranded in the Arctic pack ice during the Franklin expedition of 1846 (Link goes to Season 02 which is set during WWII).

Trivia

  • The production was the furthest north a scripted production has ever filmed.
  • Despite sub-zero temperatures, Colin Farrell refused to wear gloves on camera.
    • He stated his character would never wear gloves.
  • For six weeks, cast and crew lived on two small boats in the Arctic Circle.
  • Filmed almost entirely on location in Norway. Due to the Covid pandemic, cast and crew needed to wrap on sound stages.
  • For Drax’s physique, Colin Farrell lifted heavy weights and increased his eating.
    • He did not consult a trainer or medical expert.
    • He created his own regimen after studying vintage photographs of Victorian boxers and dockers.
    • Farrell notes that his lifestyle change was “ill-advised” due to how extreme the routine was.
  • Director Andrew Haigh alleges Colin Farrell ate up to 8 meals a day as part of his weight gain routine for Henry Drax.
  • Shooting for one scene was interrupted when a walrus found its way onto set.
  • According to the director, when Henry Drax rowed his boat, it was actually Colin Farrell rowing.
  • Due to extreme weather and environmental conditions, cast and crew were largely unable to rehearse.

The North Water Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Andrew Haigh … (5 episodes, 2021).
  • Producer(s):
    • Fraser Ash … co-executive producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Iain Canning … executive producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Alice Dawson … co-producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Nicky Earnshaw … co-producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Niv Fichman … executive producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Andrew Haigh … executive producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Ildiko Kemeny … co-producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Hakan Kousetta … executive producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Kevin Krikst … co-executive producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Jamie Laurenson … executive producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • David Minkowski … co-producer / co-executive producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Mónika Nagy … line producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Kate Ogborn … producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Emile Sherman … executive producer (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Jasmyrh Lemoine … associate producer (4 episodes, 2021).
    • Lucy Richer … executive producer (4 episodes, 2021).
    • Edward Rastelli-Lewis … pick up’s uk line producer (1 episode, 2021).
  • Writer(s):
    • Andrew Haigh … (written by) (5 episodes, 2021).
    • Ian McGuire … (based on the book written by) (5 episodes, 2021).
  • Music:
    • Tim Hecker … (5 episodes, 2021).
  • Cinematography:
    • Nicolas Bolduc … (5 episodes, 2021).
  • Editor(s):
    • Jonathan Alberts … (3 episodes, 2021).
    • Matthew Hannam … (3 episodes, 2021).
  • Production:
    • See-Saw Films.
    • BBC Two.
    • Rhombus Media.
    • Pioneer Stilking Films.
  • Distributor(s):
    • AMC+ (2021) (USA) (TV).
    • BBC Two (2019) (UK) (TV).
  • Release Date: 15 July 2021 to 12 August 2021.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Rating: TV-MA.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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