Will history repeat itself? Hitler comedy “Look Who’s Back,” which did gangbusters biz in Germany, is set for an Italian remake that will reimagine Benito Mussolini’s return in present-day Italy.
Expanding Italo film and TV shingle Indiana Production has optioned Italian-language remake rights from German producers Mythos Film and Constantin Film to the hit political satire directed by David Wnendt in which Hitler wakes up in contempo Berlin with no memory of any event post-1945, and ends up getting his own TV show.
The deal was brokered by Gero Worstbrock, managing director of Constantin Film, and Daniel Campos Pavoncelli, head of film at Indiana Production.
Partly shot amid ordinary Teutons instead of thesps, this Borat-like docu style pic earned more than $21 million in Germany last year, becoming the country’s second-highest-grossing home-grown hit. Netflix will be distributing it worldwide with the exception of the German-speaking countries and a few selected other territories, following a recent deal with BetaCinema.
The original film was based on the novel written by Timur Vermes, that sold over 2 million copies in Germany and has been translated in 41 languages.
“We’re very happy to work on such an extraordinary concept,” enthused Marco Cohen, co-founder and partner of Indiana Production. He added that “we’ve already started writing the adaptation of the script.”
While postwar Italy has perhaps not been as willing as Germany to confront its totalitarian past – and therefore to therapeutically laugh at it as well – there is grist for the mill substituting Mussolini for Hitler in adapting this ingeniously constructed tale, especially given the more recent rise of Silvio Berlusconi for whom TV has been so key.
For Indiana Production the “Who’s Back” acquisition underscores a “continuous interest in finding international projects to bring to the Italian market [as remakes],” noted Fabrizio Donvito, the company’s other co-founder and partner. Indiana has experience remaking European intellectual properties for Italian audiences. They recently produced Francesca Archibugi’s “Il nome del figlio,” an Italian remake of hit French laffer “Le prenom,” curiously about a soon-to-be father who wants to name his boy Adolph. They also adapted Ridley Scott’s user-generated docu feature format “Life in a Day,” which became “Italy in a Day” directed by Gabriele Salvatores.
Indiana’s most recent production is coming-of-age/road movie “Summertime,” directed by Gabriele Muccino, which is market premiering at the EFM sold by Rai Com.