Haut et Court produces $15 million fantasy drama

PARIS — French paybox Canal Plus has ordered the first season of Haut et Court-produced fantasy drama series “Les Revenants,” a €11.4 million ($15 million) skein with strong international potential.

Scribe-helmer Fabrice Gobert, whose feature debut “Lights Out” preemed in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, loosely adapted the series from Robin Campillo’s 2004 movie “Les Revenant” (They Came Back). The skein, which had been in development for over four years, comprises eight one-hour episodes.

Co-helmed by Gobert and Frederic Mermout, the French-language “Les Revenants” turns on a group of people of different ages and backgrounds who died years ago and mysteriously return home, determined to resume their lives, without realizing they’ve been gone for a while.

Gobert collaborated with several high-profile scribes, including Celine Sciamma (“Tomboy”), Emmanuel Carrere (“La Moustache”), Nicolas Peufaillit (“A Prophet”) and Camille Fontaine (“Coco Before Chanel”).

Cast boasts several up-and-coming thesps, notably Clotilde Hesme and Gregory Gadebois, who both nabbed Cesar nods for their breakthrough perf in “Angele and Tony,” as well as Cesar-nommed Guillaume Gouix (“Jimmy Riviere”), Celine Sallette (“House of Tolerance”) and Frederic Pierrot (“Polisse”).

” ‘Les Revenants’ marks one of France’s rare homegrown fantasy TV productions,” said Jimmy Desmarais, who is producing the skein with Benjo.

“It’s not a show about zombies: Fabrice Gobert depicts the complexity of each character with genre atmosphere and a realistic approach; and as the series advances the plot turns supernatural.”

Founded by Caroline Benjo and Carole Scotta, Haut et Court is a leading independent shingle, which has produced such critically acclaimed arthouse pics as Palme d’Or winning “The Class” and Audrey Tautou starrer “Coco Before Chanel.”

Canal Plus’ fiction department, headed by Fabrice de la Patelliere, has been powering up with original French shows — for instance “Braquo,” “Spiral,” Pigalle La Nuit” and “Hard” — which have scored hit ratings on the paybox, sold to major international territories and helped increase the net’s subscription basis.

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