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Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson join Jared Harris in Chernobyl

Sky and HBO’s series based on one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history

Stellan Skarsgård (Breaking the Waves, Good Will Hunting, Mamma Mia) and Emily Watson (Breaking The Waves, Punch-Drunk Love, Apple Tree Yard) are confirmed to star in Chernobyl, Sky and HBO’s high-end drama partnership based on the powerful real-life events of the catastrophic nuclear accident.

The five-part mini-series, which will be shown on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW TV, brings to life the true story of the unprecedented man-made tragedy, and the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.

Skarsgård will play Boris Shcherbina, head of the Bureau for Fuel and Energy of the USSR, and appointed leader of the government commission on Chernobyl in the early hours of the accident. In the effort to confront the disaster, Shcherbina finds himself trapped between the realities of the political system he serves… and the brutal human costs of battling an escalating nuclear nightmare.

Watson will take the role of Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet nuclear physicist committed to solving the scientific mystery of what led to the disaster at Chernobyl, so that it can be prevented from ever happening again. Her efforts put her on a collision course with those who have buried a terrible secret, and she must risk her freedom, and her life, to see that the truth is told, and justice is done.

Skarsgård and Watson, who appeared together on screen in 1996 Cannes Film Festival winner Breaking the Waves, will be reunited and will join Jared Harris (Mad Men, The Crown), who was confirmed last year to play Valery Legasov, the Soviet scientist chosen by the Kremlin to investigate the accident.

Skarsgård said: “Nobody would see it as a privilege to spend five months in a dilapidated nuclear plant, unless it was to play in a script like this by Craig Mazin, work with a director like Johan Renck, collaborate with a producer like Jane Featherstone, jam with an actor like Jared Harris and finally be at the feet of Emily Watson whom I have been missing for some twenty years.”

Watson said: “This is a significant piece of work and I’m honoured to be part of it. I can’t wait to get started with this amazing group of people, and am especially excited to be working with Stellan again.”

The series, produced by Sister Pictures and The Mighty Mint, is the first Sky/HBO project to be greenlit through an international partnership to develop big-scale drama, under a $250m multi-year co-production investment deal.

Written by Craig Mazin (The Identity Thief, Huntsman: Winters War), Chernobyl is Directed by Johan Renck (Breaking Bad, Blackstar), is Executive Produced by Jane Featherstone (Humans, Broadchurch) and Craig Mazin for Sister Pictures, Carolyn Strauss (Game of Thrones, The Wire) for The Mighty Mint and Gabriel Silver for Sky. Johan Renck and Chris Fry (Humans, The Smoke) Co-Executive Produce and Sanne Wohlenberg (Black Mirror, Wallander) produces.

Chernobyl will begin filming in Lithuania in Spring 2018. It will be available later on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK and Ireland, and on Sky Atlantic in Italy, Germany and Austria.

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