MSN UK and Endemol UK announced today the launch of their new interactive sci-fi web series Kirill, starring British actor David Schofield (Pirates of the Carribean, Gladiator). Pure Grass Films, a UK-based web production outfit known for their Beyond the Rave series with MySpaceTV, co-produced the series.
Schofield plays a Kirill, scientist at CERN, the backers of the recently completed real-life (and possibly terrifying) Large Hadron Collider who is communicating from 50 years into the future after a massive disaster has hit the planet. In his dystopian future he’s a “desperate, driven, vulnerable fugitive keeping himself alive by fear and stubbornness.”
The show’s site is run off of Microsoft’s Silverlight video technology, which means you’ll need to sit through the 30-second download if you didn’t do it already watching the Summer Olympics on NBC.com. There’s also a YouTube UK official channel that’s a little more friendly to embedding and viewers who pass on the Silverlight install. MSN is also showing off a number of their interactive tools with the series like Live Search and social netoworking site Spaces.
As part of the roll out, the story elements for Kirill were seeded via two supporting character blogs — CERN scientist Stuart’s and journalist Vivenne Villars’ (Vee Vimolmal).
Guardian UK is reporting that a staff of nearly 50 people worked on Kirill for six months, according to Pasa Mustafa, head of Endemol UK’s digital studios. “We’re in the same game – to push the medium further. Everyone on the team felt it was very important to place someone well known in Kirill, which is why we chose David Schofield,” Mustafa said.
The five-week series is being touted as the first interactive sci-fi web experience, though NBCu’s Gemini Division might have already taken that crown. Two episodes will be released each week with episodes said to come in at around three minutes each.
UPDATE: Added Episode 1 below: