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Leonard Cohen Series Starts Shooting on Greece’s Hydra Island

Leonard Cohen
A new series set on Hydra about Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen is currently be produced. Credit: Takahiro Kyono / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

A new TV series about the late singer, songwriter, and novelist Leonard Cohen is being filmed on the Greek island of Hydra. The series will star Alex Wolff as Leonard Cohen and Thea Sofie Loch Næss as his muse Marianne Ihlen.

The series is named So Long, Marianne after one of Cohen’s songs about his partner. Principal photography for the series began on March 24. The filming locations include Hydra in Greece, Norway, and Canada.

Cohen had a second home on Hydra where he would spend many summer months writing music. The island was also where he met his great love and muse, Marianne Ihlen.

The upcoming series

In addition to Alex Wolff and Thea Sofie Loch Næsas in the leading roles, the cast of the upcoming series will also include Anna Torv as Charmian Clift and Noah Taylor as George Johnston.

Wolff is best known for his roles in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and Hereditary. Wolff also has a role in the upcoming movie Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., and Florence Pugh.

Loch Næss’ film and TV portfolio includes The Last Kingdom, in which she played the Viking seer Skade, Delete Me, and One Night in Oslo.

The series is a collaborative effort involving NRK, a Norwegian broadcasting company, and Crave, a Canadian streaming service owned by Bell Media. The global distribution of the series is being handled by Cineflix Rights.

According to a synopsis of the upcoming show, So Long, Marianne is an “intimate tale of two lonely people falling in love, during a period of their life when they are trying to figure out who they are and their place in the world, while one is becoming one of the most famous singers of all time.”

Most of the series primarily revolves around Hydra, a charming Greek island, where Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen lived in the 1960s. During that time, they become acquainted with Charmian Clift and her spouse George Johnston, both renowned Australian writers.

Leonhard Cohen and the Greek island of Hydra

The Canadian songwriter enjoyed a successful career in music which lasted for fifty years.

He was among a handful of revered songwriters of the 1960s and 1970s, along with Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and James Taylor, marking the two most important decades in modern music history.

Cohen, who began his adult life as a writer, traveled a great deal, which seemed to him mandatory for anyone who wanted to write from experience. On Hydra, he found the serenity and solitude he longed for in order to pen his works.

This is where he wrote his two books, The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966). It was also there where Cohen met Marianne Ihlen, his partner and muse for most of the 1960s.

Cohen found the native people of Hydra mysterious and intriguing, and he came to absolutely enjoy living there. The Canadian singer-songwriter and novelist later said that buying his island house was the smartest decision he had ever made.

The island of Hydra is also where Cohen’s two albums were conceived. “Songs of Leonard Cohen” (1967) and “Songs from a Room” (1969), featuring spare arrangements and stark delivery of his poetic lyrics, established the young Canadian as a great name in the music industry.

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