VARIETY: Lars von Trier Returns to Cult Miniseries ‘The Kingdom’ for Third Run

By Elsa Keslassy / Variety



Lars von Trier (“Melancholia,” “The House That Jack Built”) is set to direct “Kingdom Exodus,” the third and final season of “The Kingdom,” his cult 1990s TV show about the good, evil and paranormal inside the neurosurgical ward of Denmark’s main hospital.

Louise Vesth at Zentropa Entertainments is producing the five-episode season, which will start shooting next year. TrustNordisk handles international sales on the show, which is expected to be delivered in 2022. “The Kingdom Exodus” is a collaboration between Viaplay, DR and Zentropa, with financial support from Film i Väst and Nordisk Film & TV Fond, among others.

Von Trier penned the script in collaboration with Niels Vørsel, as for the first two runs. A third season was being planned in the late 1990s before being abandoned followed the death of two cast members, Ernst-Hugo Järegård and Kirsten Rolffes.

“The Kingdom” was adapted by Stephen King in the U.S. as a 13-episode drama titled “Kingdom Hospital” in 2004. The Danish miniseries was also edited as a five-hour film and sold nearly worldwide.

The plot of this third run is being kept under wraps, and TrustNordisk teases that “the old feud between the Swedes and the Danes at the hospital is still fiery, the constitution of the Kingdom is fragile (and) a curse still lies on the old hospital in the series.” Von Trier also gave hints about the upcoming season in an enigmatic statement pasted below.

The cast will be a mix of “well-known characters from earlier seasons as well as new characters,” said TrustNordisk.

“Zentropa is extremely proud to announce this great finale of ‘The Kingdom.’ Hospitals, horror and humor with added Lars von Trier on top is just the perfect series addiction,” said Vesth.

In addition to the production of “The Kingdom Exodus,” TrustNordisk also announced that “The Kingdom” seasons 1 and 2 will be restored.

“The Kingdom Exodus” is presented by Viaplay, Nanna Mailand-Mercado, Camilla Rydbacken, Filippa Wallestam and DR, Rikke Kristine Nissen, and Christian Rank. Vesth at Zentropa is producing with Film I Vast, Katarina Krave, Peter Possne, Zentropa Sweden and Ginger Pictures co-producing, with the support of Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Liselott Forsman, Torleif Hauge and a tax shelter provided by BNP Paribas Fortis Film Finance and with the support of The Creative Europe Media Program of the European Union.

Von Trier last directed the serial killer movie “The House That Jack Built,” starring Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz and Uma Thurman. The movie world premiered out of competition at Cannes in 2018.

Here is Von Trier’s statement about “Kingdom Exodus”:

“Borders come in many forms; they may be lines drawn with rulers on white paper (often invisible to whoever chances to visit the actual geographical locations). The lines of the borders may be illustrative, if not to say quite fictitious and downright mean; they may be drawn in a soft, red color, practically invisible, and perhaps even as a dotted line, almost as if indicating an apology or even – shame. Nevertheless, the lines hang there in inconceivable numbers, and together they constitute those ‘territories’ that the inhabitants are strong enough to defend. Entering and leaving often entail violence, for, of course, any visitor is expected to return after ending his or her business.

“On Earth, ‘the Machine that makes everything go round (all life, that is)’ is dependent on the conflicts which the lines provoke, as if by design.

“Whether Exodus actually means ‘entering’ or ‘leaving’ depends on the angle from which the border is observed, but the word simply describes a large number of individuals crossing a pencil-drawn line together.

“Why?….. There is an imbalance between good and evil! The limit has been reached, at least at the Kingdom…. But I cannot testify that it will be easy and bloodless to pick the seven astral locks of the world simultaneously with doctor’s blood.”