X Company gets Hungary for season two

Co-creator Mark Ellis on the pros and cons of shooting in Budapest and Temple Street's Kerry Appleyard on bringing Amanda Tapping on board.
X Company Picture

Production has begun in Budapest, Hungary on the second season of WWII drama X Company, with new episodes scheduled to air on CBC in early 2016.

The series will shoot solely in the Hungarian capital until November, 2015. The second season, consisting of 10 hour-long episodes, picks up in German-occupied France as the team attempt to recover from the shooting of Tom (Dustin Milligan) and the capture of Alfred (Jack Laskey) by the Gestapo.

X Company is a Canada-Hungary coproduction by Toronto’s Temple Street Productions and Budapest’s Pioneer Stillking Films. The show is created, written and executive produced by Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern. Ivan Schneeberg, David Fortier, and Bill Haber also exec produce the show, while John Calvert, Ildikó Kemény and David Minkowski serve as producers.

While season one had a more conventional, episodic tone, the second is more serialized and character-driven, Ellis told Playback Daily. The production team also learned a lot while filming the first season in Budapest, he added.

“Finding a street to shoot on in Toronto is relatively easy, while here [in Europe] that can be a little harder. The bottom line is there’s a little more bureaucracy to contend with, but for every challenge you face, you’re really rewarded with spectacular production value.”

The series is shot in two episode blocks, with 15 days allocated to the completion of two episodes, said Ellis. “That means we’re able to cross-pollinate locations a bit more, which helps with some of the production challenges we face. On the flip side, it puts pressure on crew, writers and actors as they must have two stories in their head at the same time. But we’ve found that it’s been very efficient,” he said.

Writing on the series is still ongoing, with the first four episodes penned in their entirety and the remaining six still being worked on. This year’s ACTRA Woman of the year, Amanda Tapping, will also direct two episodes later in the season.

“We’d heard great things [about Amanda], and Temple Street were interested in having some more women on board as directors, and so Mark and Stephanie met her, and really liked her take on the material,” Kerry Appleyard, VP, scripted programming, Temple Street Productions, told Playback Daily.

The first season debuted on CBC in mid-February this year, drawing an average audience of 813,000 (2+, overnight) viewers. The new season sees the return of Evelyne Brochu, Jack Laskey, Hugh Dillon, Warren Brown, Dustin Milligan, Connor Price and Lara Jean Chorostecki.

International distribution of the show is handled by Sony Pictures Television.