Leonie Benesch And Frank Van Passel On The Mystery Of “Moresnet,” A European Drama In Which A Time Capsule Carries A Deadly Message

Leonie Benesch And Frank Van Passel On The Mystery Of “Moresnet,” A European Drama In Which A Time Capsule Carries A Deadly Message

Moresnet is a storied town and the setting for a European mystery thriller of the same name about a group of friends who dig up a time capsule buried two decades earlier, only to find their names listed inside with dates marked for their death.

Boris Van Severen (Salamander) is the chain-smoking Ben, who returns to Moresnet to bury his father. His homecoming sets in train events that inexorably lead to Thalamus, a huge neuro-technology corporation that in turn holds the key to a darkly secretive project known as Eterneco.

Leonie Benesch (Babylon Berlin) stars as the granddaughter of mysterious Nobel Prize-winning scientist Robert Rolin (Pierre Bokma) and is his successor as CEO at Thalamus.

Related Stories

When Benesch sits down with Deadline she has just seen the finished show for the very first time at its international launch at Canneseries – the big-ticket drama event on the Côte d’Azur. “I loved every second… where I wasn’t on screen,” she says. “But then every time my face came on, I was like, oh, no, I was just getting into what was happening and now I have to deal with my own work.”

She was, however, pleased with the results. “I love what [director Frank Van Passel] and team have done in the edit and with the sound and I think it looks incredible. It’s thrilling, because obviously I know the script, but I was worried at the beginning that there might be too many things happening at the same time, but watching it, it doesn’t feel like that.”

The character of Eva inhabits a slick and polished world of corporate offices and penthouse apartments, which contrast with brooding scenes in the town of Moresnet, as the group of friends dig up the time capsule and peel back layers of an unfolding mystery – while knowing the imminent time and dates of their predicted deaths.

“On one level it’s a fast-speed, thrilling show,” says Frank Van Passel who directs and created the series with Jonas Van Geel and Jef Hoogmartens. “But there’s also the second thing, which is for me is the most important, and that’s the more philosophical part underneath, which has to do with an extreme existential angst.”

Van Passel says there are ambitions for a four-season run, but also promises the freshman season has a satisfying ending.

Hoogmartens was an ever-present on set. Benesch says, his presence and ability to answer any and all questions about character and plot freed her to focus on her performance. “I take great pleasure in not having to know everything,” she says. “All I need to know is about my character, her motivations where she wants to be and why she acts the way she does. I don’t necessarily feel like I have to understand the whole thing.”

European coproduction in vogue – and Moresnet is made by Lompvis and Caviar, which made the Oscar winning Sound of Metal, alongside Germany’s Flare Film, part of Newen Studios, and Amsterdam-based Pupkin. It will bow on Belgian SVOD Streamz and German streamer ZDF Neo. Newen Connect is handling international sales.

“We have the ingredients to talk to a broad public,” Van Passel says. “One of the reasons is in the in the heart of the show – it’s not a Belgian story, it’s not a German story is not a Dutch story… it’s a very European story, in the sense that it’s about crossing borders, it’s about people living close each other, but going through totally different experiences that suddenly start crossing over.”

In terms of what’s next for Benesch, it doesn’t look like it’ll be a period drama… although never say never. “I’m a little hesitant about period dramas, because I’ve done a lot of them,” she says. “However, if someone turns around and sends me a script that is really good, then I think I wouldn’t say no, because it always depends on who are the creative heads, who are the people I would get to work with, what’s the challenge and could I learn something new? All of these things matter.”