English-language drama to be shot in Colombia

HOLLYWOOD — “Mental,” Fox’s first original U.S. English-language skein to be shot in Colombia, has added thesps Jacqueline McKenzie, Derek Webster, Nicholas Gonzalez and Marisa Ramirez to its cast.

Skein is toplined by Chris Vance (“Prison Break”) and Annabella Sciorra (“The Sopranos”).

Vance plays Jack Gallagher, a maverick psychiatrist in a Los Angeles mental health hospital whose unorthodox treatments unnerve staff and management. Sciorra plays Nora, the department administrator who is Gallagher’s boss and ex-lover.

The 13-episode medical drama began shooting this week at the new Fox Telecolombia studios in Bogota, Colombia, built on an 80,000 sq. ft. lot acquired in October.

Sets include the interior of a 30,000 sq. ft. psychiatric hospital and an Emergency Room designed by art directors and set builders from the U.S.

All key department heads are American, although some will be replaced by locals, according to Fox Intl. Channels global development sr. VP Emiliano Saccone. “This is all quite unprecedented for Latin America,” he said.

Skein is slated to broadcast on Fox Intl. Channels across Latin America, Europe and Asia, and will be shopped to U.S. webs as episodes become available later in the year.

Deborah Joy LeVine (“Lois and Clark”) and Dan Levine (“The Division”) are executive producers. Guy Ferland (“The Shield,” “The Riches,” “Saving Grace”) will helm the first episode.

Fox Intl. Channels acquired 51% of Telecolombia a year ago, renaming it Fox Telecolombia and installing its founder-owner Samuel Duque as prexy and CEO.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more