Neo-noir spy thriller series plumbs pathological revenge
James Cosmo (“Game of Thrones”), Jamie Anderson (“The Contract”), Timothy Gibbs (“Project 12: The Bunker”) and Sam Douglas (“Snatch”) are attached to star in the multiple-character neo-noir spy thriller “Magnum Opus.”
An eight-part TV series charting a vengeance quest, sparked years before by the Lockerbie Pan Am flight 103 bombing, “Magnum Opus” is being brought onto the market at Mipcom by London-based Carnaby Intl. Sales and Distribution.
Gibbs and Spaniard Ida Cuellar (“La muerte de Otilia Ruiz”), direct separate episodes of what will be Carnaby’s first flagship TV series.
Arly Jover (“Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”), Marina Gatell (“39 +1”), Simon Brading (“Red Lights”) and newcomer Godeliv V. Den Brandt are also attached.
“Magnum Opus” turns on a CIA operative, Sidney Porter, who spirals out of control, trading the love, loyalty and lives of those closest to him for his own obsessive war of vengeance, seeking retribution for his parents’ deaths on Pan Am Flight 103.
Written by Nicholl Fellowship Prize winner John Ciarlo (“Bend in the River”), Gibbs and Bob Brown (“Operation Phoenix”) is set up at The Alkeme Company, based out of L.A. and Barcelona, and Barcelona’s Somnium Films.
Gibbs, Somnium’s Valentina Chidichino and Simon Brading, a partner of Gibbs at Alkeme, produce.
A genuine neo-noir which is shot in color but is a throw-back to the great noir of the ‘40s and ‘50s, packing a lot of surprises, including a big final twist which pulls back empathy and warmth for the protagonist, the rawness of the series probably places in the subscription-based realm, series creator Gibbs said on the eve of Mipcom.
“The plot is simple but is character-driven and the relationship between the characters is complex,” he added.
“’Magnum Opus’ looks at a man who gradually develops into a pathological state. He’s pushed over the edge by events along the way and, after 25 years of research, takes vengeance into his own hands. He’s a hero and anti-hero. You can see his pain but we get to see a little of the dark underbelly of the human condition,” said Brown.
Financing for nearly all of the first season of the series has been raised via private equity from mostly the U.S. and U.K. with just a small gap remaining and without the need to involve an anchor broadcaster, Gibbs told Variety on the eve of Mipcom.
“This is a genuinely independently produced TV series,” he said.
Footage for core scenes of a pilot has been shot. The remainder of the pilot’s principal photography will take place from January 15, 2015.
“We have gotten offers from some of the biggest, blue-chip distributors in the business to distribute ‘Magnum Opus,’ one company even wanted to buy it outright but Carnaby offered us the fairest of deals, and is small enough to recognize we need a true partnership but big enough to get the job done,” Gibbs said.
A specialist in neo-noir, music-vid and shorts helmer Ida Cuellar has made a large contribution to the neo-noir aesthetic of the series, Chidichino added.