Cipango to develop fantasy, mystery and comicbook spinoff series

After scoring top ratings with two French crime dramas, “Braquo” and “Pigalle,” Canal Plus is switching gears and going for English-language epic, fantasy and period series.

On the eve of Monday’s opening of the Mip TV mart in Cannes, the Gallic powerhouse announced three projects in development with Paris-based Cipango Films.

The paybox’s slate includes a 13-episode series adapted from the Belgian comicbook “XIII.” Skein is a spinoff of the two-part series starring Val Kilmer and Stephen Dorff. Series got a poor reception when it aired in February 2008 on NBC, but pulled record ratings on Canal Plus the same year.

The series will be directed by Duane Clark and penned by Gil Grant. Lensing will start this fall.

Canal Plus and Cipango Films are also developing “La Patrouille perdue” (The Lost Patrol), a WWI-set fantasy/war drama. To be shot in English, the skein will follow a French patrol faced with supernatural events.

Fabrice De La Patelliere, director of Canal Plus’ fiction department, said producers are in talks with prominent British or American scribes.

The third project, “Le Vol des cigognes” (Flight of the Storks), is a two-part series based on Jean-Christophe Grange’s crime novel. The mini centers on a young French academic who is embroiled in a series of murders while tracing the flight of storks around the world. Grange is working on an adaptation. A British or American screenwriter will be tapped for an English-language version.

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