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Canal Plus, BBC, Mendes plan ‘Hotel’

Neal Street, Son et Lumiere handling development

MADRID — France’s Canal Plus, BBC Worldwide and director-producer Sam Mendes (“Bond 23,” “American Beauty”) are teaming to produce TV series “Grand Hotel.”

The eight-seg one-hour skein turns on the guests and staff of a ritzy international hotel in Paris who are suddenly taken hostage.

Held captive in the lap of luxury, they try to find out why they’re being held prisoner, and plan to escape.

“Hotel” is set up at Mendes and Pippa Harris’ London-based Neal Street Prods. and Vassili Clert’s Son et Lumiere in Paris, which are jointly handling development.

Series scripts will be written by Richard McBrien (“Wallander, “Spooks”) and Virginie Brac, who worked on Canal Plus’ first big drama hit, cop-series “Spiral.” Though producing, Mendes will not direct.

In development and yet to be greenlit, “Grand Hotel” is the latest in a posse of high-profile Canal Plus TV dramas melding U.S./U.K. talent and European production and finance.

Production began October on the $35 million “Borgia,” also financed by Canal Plus, show-run by Tom Fontana (“Oz,” “The Philanthropist”).

Directed over its first four installments by Germany’s Oliver Hirschbiegel (“Downfall”), “Borgia” is produced by France’s Atlantique Prods., a subsid of Lagardere Ent, Prague’s Etic and Germany’s EOS, part of Jan Mojto’s Beta Films, which handles world sales.

John Milius, co-creator and exec producer on HBO-BBC’s “Rome,” is show-running ancient Egypt epic “Pharaoh,” a 12-part Canal Plus-co-financed series set up at Paris-based Tetra Media and Amana Creative, run by former StudioCanal CEO Frederic Sichler.

A 12-episode series produced for Canal Plus by France’s Capa Drama and Marathon, part of Euro conglom Zodiak Ent., “Versailles,” set at the court of French monarch Louis XIV, is being written by “Mad Men” scribe-producers Andre and Maria Jacquemetton. Former HBO longform exec Anne Thomopoulos serves as executive producer.

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