CANNES– EuropaCorp TV, the television division of Luc Besson’s powerhouse, is developing several ambitious, high-concept French and U.S. drama series, including the French adaptation of Britain’s “Doctor Foster” and the new U.S. series “The French Detective.”
“Doctor Foster” is a hit BBC One thriller drama series about a woman who suspects her husband of having an affair and starts investigating, which propels her into a downward spiral. Helene Duchateau and Baptiste Filleul are co-writing the French adaptation, which is being co-produced by BBC France. TF1 is co-developing the six-episode series. BBC Worldwide will handle international sales.
“The best thing about this show is the fact that’s a true genre-bender. It’s not just another show about adultery; it’s a thriller, a mystery and a drama,” said Thomas Anargyros, the Paris-based president and CEO of EuropaCorp TV. Anargyros said the adaptation would closely follow the original but would have a “French flavor” and take place in a provincial town.
The British series earned its lead actress, Suranne Jones, a BAFTA last year; it also won Britain’s Broadcasting Press Guild award for best drama and National Television award for new drama.
Another promising French show on EuropaCorpTV’s slate is “Aux animaux la guerre,” an adaptation of Nicolas Matthieu’s novel that will be directed by Alain Tasma, whose credits include “XIII: the series,” “Nuit noire, 17 octobre 1961” and “Les bleus.” Ordered by French pubcaster France 3, “Aux animaux la guerre” is a gritty and socially engaged drama set against the backdrop of a poor industrial town in the Vosges where a large factory has shut down, leaving hundreds of workers unemployed. Anargyros described it as a “‘Happy Valley’ with a Scandinavian tone.”
EuropaCorpTV is also partnering up with Fabrice Eboué, the director of French hit “Case depart,” on “Nos futurs” (“Our futurs”), a black comedy adapted from Arto Paasilinna’s “A Charming Mass Suicide,” which has been picked up by French pubcaster French 2. The daring series will follow a group of suicidal friends who embark on a bus trip across France that’s meant to lead them to their final destination.
Meanwhile, EuropaCorp Television USA, whose key drama production “Taken” has drawn a loyal audience and consistent ratings on NBC, is developing “The French Detective,” a series adapted from James Patterson’s “French Kiss: A Detective Luc Moncrief Mystery.” The show will center on a handsome and charming French detective who joins the NYPD for a fresh start and has to partner up with a young female detective.
“It’s the story of a culture clash between two strong characters: a brash Latina from the Bronx and a cultured French detective,” said Matthew Gross, the Los Angeles-based president of EuropaCorp Television USA.
Gross also mentioned two series projects developed for cable and/or digital services: “Gray,” a spy thriller co-created by bestselling American novelist David Baldacci (“Wish You Well”), and “The Fence,” a noir thriller penned by Alexi Hawley (“The Following”) centering on two estranged and dysfunctional siblings forced to take over their patriarch’s pawn shop following his death, only to find out their father was the top fence for stolen goods in Los Angeles.
EuropaCorp Television USA is hopeful for a second season of “Taken” as the show’s ratings are solid and their co-production partner, Universal, has sold it successfully across the globe.