Written by on Dec 13, 2013. Posted in On Location

Historical miniseries Hannibal could film in North Africa or Mediterranean

A new historical miniseries focussing on the legendary general Hannibal Barca could consider filming locations in North Africa or the Mediterranean. Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry is producing the project with History Channel, which based its first scripted drama Vikings in Ireland.

“Hannibal was not only the greatest African general to ever live,” said Berry: “He may have been the greatest general, period. His story is an intricate and captivating ride, and I’m thrilled to get this project off the ground with our partners at History.”

Historical miniseries are very much in vogue at the moment with the huge success of Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland, while History’s own Vikings (right) is making a name for itself south of the border in County Wicklow in Ireland.

Dramas set in the ancient world are also growing in popularity. History Channel scored a huge recent hit with miniseries The Bible, which filmed on location in Morocco. Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky is set to deliver his big-budget biblical feature Noah (below) in March 2014 – having filmed in New York and Iceland – and Ridley Scott is shooting a similarly large-scale Moses production as Exodus in the UK and Spain.

Hannibal was not only the greatest African general to ever live. He may have been the greatest general, period.

Halle Berry, Producer

Hannibal begins in the ancient city of Carthage – now Tunis – in the Second Century BC. Given that History Channel has experience already of Morocco, it seems likely that cities like Marrakech will be on the production shortlist, especially as the story calls for similarly sun-blasted terrain.

Malta, the Canary Islands and South Africa could be marked out as suitably film-friendly alternatives, both for the available visuals, regional tax breaks and, in the case of Malta, a well-equipped studio.

Eastern Europe has additional options, with Bulgaria and Hungary having recently hosted competing Hercules movies. Game of Thrones has been a regular visitor to Dubrovnik in Croatia.

The availability of world-class studio facilities could be a deciding factor for Hannibal and, indeed, Nu Boyana Film Studios in Sofia offers a permanent Roman set that could be made to suit Hannibal’s time period. Otherwise, the producers could opt for studio work somewhere like the UK – if indeed there is room – and choose a more limited location shoot. The ancient world of the BBC’s new family drama Atlantis was largely built in a studio in Wales, with limited location filming in Morocco.

As ever, the culmination of film-friendly locations and the right production incentives will be a major part of the decision-making process.

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