FremantleMedia, Pukeko to produce Joan of Arc series
LONDONFremantleMedia has inked with Baz Luhrmann’s regular writer Craig Pearce to develop Kimberley Cutter’s bestseller about Joan of Arc, “The Maid,” into a TV drama series for international auds. The as-yet-untitled skein is the first project from a pact between FremantleMedia and Pukeko Pictures, co-founded by Weta Workshop head, Richard Taylor. The novel follows the transformation of a peasant girl into the warrior who lead the French against the English invaders in the 15th century. Pearce co-wrote Luhrmann’s “Strictly Ballroom,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge” and “The Great Gatsby,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. Adam Fratto, a co-exec producer of Syfy series “Haven,” will exec produce the Joan of Arc series, alongside Pukeko co-owner Martin Baynton. “Kimberly’s book pulls the veil of mythology aside and shows the real girl at the heart of this extraordinary story,” Fratto said. Taylor added, “This project is the perfect fit for everything New Zealand has to offer. From our spectacular landscapes to the award-winning team here at Weta Workshop, an epic drama that can showcase everything from conceptual design through to manufacturing; using all the skills we have honed on our feature work.” Weta is best known for “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Hobbit.” FremantleMedia, which recently inked a pact with Marshall Herskovitz to develop a series inspired by Andrew Nagorski’s non-fiction book “Hitlerland,” said that these deals with Hollywood talent demonstrated its “continued commitment to develop and distribute large-scale dramas for worldwide audiences.” David Ellender, global CEO of FremantleMedia Enterprises, said, “Our global drama strategy is delivering exciting film-scale projects with the best writers, producers, creators and directors in the business.” Recent FremantleMedia projects include “Wedding Band” for TBS with Mike Tollin (“Smallville,” “One Tree Hill”), and “Hit & Miss” for Sky Atlantic with creator Paul Abbot (“Shameless,” “State of Play”).