The Norwegian star actor will play the famous Swedish entrepreneur who revolutionised the telcos and media in Sweden and founded among others of MTG, Tele2 and Metro Int’l.
Filming of the five-part series is due to start in 2024 in Sweden’s Västra Götaland region.
The ace creative team behind the event project takes in co-writers Alex Haridi (Love & Anarchy, Quicksand), Lotta Eriksson (The Hunt for a Killer), director Goran Kapetanović (Caliphate, The Congregation) and FLX producer Lejla Bešić (Suburbia/Vi I villa).
The story based on Per Andersson's book ‘Stenbeck: a biography of a successful businessman’, centres on the entrepreneur, outsider and controversial corporate genius who reluctantly took over his successful family forestry business, and turned it into a pioneering media empire that had a great impact on Sweden and many parts of the world.
To build his media dream, Stenbeck challenged politicians, business leaders and even his own siblings. He broke Sweden’s state's telecommunications monopoly with Tele2, started the country's first ad-based TV channels TV3 and ZTV, founded the group MTG, and even launched the free newspaper Metro.
The series will focus on the years 1977-1992.
At Cannes’ Film i Väst launch this week, Haridi said FLX first approached him with the idea for the show. “I remember that when I was around 7, I literally adored Jan Stenbeck! Then as a young man I became a typical lefty artsy and my views on him changed totally as he embodied pure capitalism.“
For me, he continues, “what was important with the story was to connect the small and the big, the personal and larger societal aspects, as Stenbeck shaped Sweden in which we live today.”
Goran Kapetanović added: This [show] is pure drama about a Don Quixote with lots of money who shaped Swedish society. We will tell how he managed to changed Swedish society but not himself.”
Anna Croneman, Head of Drama at SVT, said the Swedish pubcaster’s ambition is “to portray the story of Sweden”. A series about Jan Stenbeck was therefore “a given”, considering his achievements. “With his ideas, the entrepreneur accelerated the paradigm shift between the industrial era and the new age as we know it today. Jan Stenbeck was a rare fascinating person, who aroused admiration and affection in some and deep dislike in others,” she observed.
The series is due to premiere on SVT in 2025, as well as in the rest of the Nordics on DR, NRK, Yle and RÚV.