French giant to work with Haut et Court

PARIS — After making a name for itself with upscale crimers such as Intl. Emmy-nommed “Braquo” and “Spiral,” French TV giant Canal Plus has branched out into the fantasy genre with €11.4 million ($14.4 million) “Rebound,” a suspense skein featuring top French talent.

“Rebound” is the first collaboration between Canal Plus and Haut et Court, the arthouse producer-distrib behind Gallic hits “The Class” and “Coco Before Channel.”

The pair are already setting up their second venture, “Pink Panthers,” a thriller series centering on the infamous Balkan crime gang, with BSkyB on board. British scribe Jack Thorne, who recently won two BAFTA nods for “The Fades” and “This is England ’88” is the showrunner, working with Jerome Pierrat, a French journo who specialized in covering organized crime.

Caroline Benjo and Jimmy Desmarais at Haut et Court had been developing “Rebound” for three years before Canal Plus greenlit it in 2010. Inspired by Robin Campillo’s film “They Came Back,” the series, which mixes drama and fantasy, is set in a lakeside village in which long-dead locals mysteriously come back to life with no memory of what happened to them.

The helming duo on the series are Fabrice Gobert, whose feature debut “Lights Out” played at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, and Frederic Mermout.

“We referenced fantasy classics and played with the codes of the genre, but we chose a more intimate approach than typical suspensers, emphasizing the multiple layers in each characters and their relationships with one another,” said Benjo.

Alexandre Piel, senior VP at Zodiak Rights’ Paris office, which reps “Rebound” in foreign markets, said the series’ promo — unveiled at Mipcom — has already lured broadcasters from nearly all key territories. “We’re in talks with buyers from the U.K., Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Israel, Benelux, Switzerland and the Middle-East,” said Piel, who also reps “Braquo.”

“Rebound’s” main strength lies in the acting performances and writing. Haut et Court was able to secure high-profile scribes, notably Celine Sciamma (“Tomboy”), Nicolas Peufaillit (“A Prophet”); bigscreen talent in Anne Consigny (“Rapt”), Clotilde Hesme and Gregory Gadebois, who both nabbed Cesar nods (France’s highest film award) for their breakthrough perf in “Angele and Tony,” as well as Cesar-nommed actors Guillaume Gouix (“Jimmy Riviere”), Celine Sallette (“House of Tolerance”) and Frederic Pierrot (“Polisse”).

Canal Plus has spent millions of euros in P&A to promote “Rebound” months ahead its bow, and gave it the biggest press launch for a French-language series.

Since Olivier Assayas’ “Carlos,” Canal Plus has measured the impact of marketing efforts.

“It’s not only good for our drama shows, it’s also crucial for branding and a powerful subscription booster,” said Fabrice de la Patelliere, head of fiction at Canal Plus.

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