Chernobyl (miniseries)

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GenreHistorical drama
Created byCraig Mazin
Written byCraig Mazin
Directed byJohan Renck
ComposerHildur Guðnadóttir
Country of origin
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes5 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
ProducerSanne Wohlenberg
Production locations
  • Lithuania
  • Ukraine
CinematographyJakob Ihre
  • Jinx Godfrey
  • Simon Smith
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time60–72 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseMay 6 (2019-05-06) –
June 3, 2019 (2019-06-03)

Chernobyl is a historical drama television miniseries, produced by HBO and Sky Uk. The series was written by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck. The series narrates Chernobyl nuclear disaster of April 1986 and the cleanup efforts that followed. It features an cast led by Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, and Paul Ritter. The series premiered in the United States and the United Kingdom on May 6–7, 2019. It received mostly positive reviews.

Premise[change | change source]

Chernobyl dramatizes the story of the nuclear plant disaster which occurred in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (Soviet Union), showing the stories of the people who caused the disaster and those who responded to it.[1] The series depicts some of the least known stories of the disaster, including the efforts of the firefighters who were the first responders on the scene, volunteers, and teams of miners tasked with digging a critical tunnel.

The miniseries is based in large part on the memories of Pripyat locals, as told by Belarusian Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich in her book Voices from Chernobyl.[2]

Cast[change | change source]

Main[change | change source]

Recurring[change | change source]

Guest[change | change source]

Production[change | change source]

Development and writing[change | change source]

Writer Craig Mazin began researching for the project in 2014, by reading books and government reports from inside and outside of the Soviet Union. Mazin also interviewed nuclear scientists to learn how a reactor works, and former Soviet citizens to gain a better idea of the culture in 1986. Furthermore, Mazin read several first-person accounts in order to bring additional authenticity to the story. He explained, "When you're reading the personal stories of people who were there — people who lived near the plant, people who worked at the plant, people who were sent to Chernobyl as part of the effort to clean it up — in those individual accounts, that's really where the story came alive".[6]

In preparation for the miniseries, Mazin visited the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.[7] Mazin also did not cast any American actors, as that could potentially pull the audience out of the story.[8]

On July 26, 2017, it was announced that HBO and Sky will produce a series named Chernobyl. It was HBO's first co-production with Sky UK. The five-episode miniseries was written by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck. Mazin was the executive producer together with Carolyn Strauss and Jane Featherstone. Chris Fry and Renck acted as co-executive producers.[1][9] On March 11, 2019, it was announced that the miniseries would premiere on May 6, 2019.[10] On June 4, 2019, Craig Mazin made the original scripts of all episodes available for downloading in PDF format (see External links below).[11]

Casting[change | change source]

Soviet-era district of Fabijoniškės (Vilnius, Lithuania) was used to portray Pripyat

Simultaneously with the initial series announcement, it was confirmed that Jared Harris would star in the series.[9] On March 19, 2018, it was announced that Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson had joined the main cast.[12] In May 2018, it was announced that Paul Ritter, Jessie Buckley, Adrian Rawlins, and Con O'Neill also joined the cast.[13]

Filming[change | change source]

Principal photography began in April 2018 in Lithuania.[9] Initial filming started on May 13, 2018. The majority of the filmings took place in Fabijoniškės, a residential district in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Fabijoniskes has maintained an authentic Soviet atmosphere. Accordingly, it was used to portray the Ukrainian city of Pripyat. An area of densely built panel housing apartments served as a location for the evacuation scenes. Director Johan Renck heavily criticised the amount of diverse and eye-catching modern windows in the houses, but was not concerned about removing them in post-production. At the end of March, production moved to Visaginas, Lithuania, to shoot the exterior and interior of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, a decommissioned nuclear power station, also known as "Chernobyl's sister" due to its visual resemblance and the nuclear reactor design used at both Chernobyl and Ignalina (RBMK nuclear power reactor). In early June 2018, production moved to Ukraine to shoot minor final scenes.[14] The filming of Chernobyl took 16 weeks.[15]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Petski, Denise (July 26, 2017). "'Chernobyl' Miniseries Starring 'The Crown's Jared Harris Set By HBO & Sky – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  2. "The real Chernobyl HBO's hit miniseries is ending, and here's how its characters compare to their real-life counterparts". Meduza. May 28, 2019. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  3. "Emily Watson on her new TV drama, Chernobyl". The Scotsman. JPIMedia. May 4, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  4. At the end of episodes "Vichnaya Pamyat", "Open Wide, O Earth", and "Please Remain Calm" he is listed as "KGB Chairman Charkov". However, during a conversation between Legasov and Charkov (episode 3, 46m 48s) they say:
    • Legasov: "You are the first deputy chairman of the KGB."
    • Charkov: "I am."
  5. At the end of episode "Open Wide, O Earth" you can hear the recruiting officer reading Pavel's identification papers out loud: "Pavel Ivanovich Gremov".
  6. "Five-Part Miniseries Chernobyl, An HBO/Sky Co-Production Starring Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson, Written and Created by Craig Mazin, and Directed by Johan Renck, Debuts May 6 on HBO". HBO. April 10, 2019. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  7. Greene, Steve (May 6, 2019). "'Chernobyl': HBO Series Never Hides From History's Physical and Psychological Horror". IndieWire. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  8. Mithaiwala, Mansoor (May 29, 2019). "Chernobyl: Why Russians Speak With English Accents On HBO's Show". Screen Rant. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Littleton, Cynthia (July 26, 2017). "HBO Sets 'Chernobyl' Miniseries to Star Jared Harris". Variety. Archived from the original on May 12, 2019. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  10. Dela Paz, Maggie (March 11, 2019). "HBO Miniseries Chernobyl Sets May Premiere Date". Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  11. Neilan, Dan (June 4, 2019). "Chernobyl's scripts are available for download, if you dare". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  12. Andreeva, Nellie (March 19, 2018). "'Chernobyl': Stellan Skarsgård & Emily Watson To Star In HBO & Sky's Miniseries". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 19, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  13. Petski, Denise (May 23, 2018). "'Chernobyl': Paul Ritter, Jessie Buckley, Adrian Rawlins & Con O'Neill Among Cast Additions For HBO/Sky Miniseries". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on May 12, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  14. Lapienytė, Jurgita (May 13, 2018). "Fabijoniškėse filmuojamo „Černobylio" režisierius pakeitė požiūrį į branduolinę energiją: tai pabaisa, kurios negalime suvaldyti". (in Lithuanian). Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved April 1, 2019.[better source needed]
  15. "Prodiuserė: HBO projektas Lietuvoje paliks ne mažiau 7 mln. eurų". (in Lithuanian). July 27, 2017. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved April 1, 2019.[better source needed]

Other websites[change | change source]