Colin Farrell has signed up to play harpooner and “brutish killer” Henry Drax in new BBC Two drama The North Water, the corporation has said.
The Irish actor’s role in the four-part thriller marks his return to British TV after his breakout stint in the BBC’s Ballykissangel in 1998.
Based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Ian McGuire, the series will be adapted and directed by Andrew Haigh.
The book, set in the late 1850s, sees former army surgeon Patrick Sumner join a whaling expedition to the Arctic when he signs up as the ship’s doctor and encounters Drax on board.
Sumner finds himself on an ill-fated journey with the murderous psychopath, and he then has to struggle for survival in the harsh Arctic wasteland.
Haigh, who also directed big screen hit 45 Years, said: “Casting the right leads is the most important part of any project and I’m thrilled to have Colin Farrell on board.
“I am a huge admirer of his work and can’t wait to see him bring Drax vividly to life.”
The series will be produced by See-Saw Films for BBC Two and filming begins this autumn.
The North Water was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2016.
Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, said: “Colin Farrell will bring a blend of brutality and humanity to Andrew Haigh’s superb adaptation of this savage novel.
“The North Water is a brooding and resonant story which is set to grip BBC Two viewers.”