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Canal Plus makes a date with ‘Barbarella’

Gallic paybox boards Gaumont's TV series

PARIS

French paybox Canal Plus has boarded Gaumont Intl. Television’s “Barbarella,” Nicolas Winding Refn’s high-profile series based on the French sci-fi comicbook character.

Announced on June 20, “Barbarella” has sparked interest from various international networks, according to Gaumont vice-CEO Christophe Riandee.

“Bringing Canal Plus on board as our first partner on ‘Barbarella’ was a strategic move: we want to show that GIT is a global company and is looking to work with the best international partners from the U.S., France and Europe,” said Riandee.

“Gaumont is the only company that has a TV studio in L.A. and a studio in Paris. That gives us the advantage of understanding and working closely with U.S. and European markets.”

Refn will helm and exec produce the series with Martha De Laurentiis. A screenwriter has yet to be attached.

Skein is based on the French sci-fi comicbook character created by Jean-Claude Forest that inspired helmer Roger Vadim’s 1968 pic “Barbarella,” toplining Jane Fonda.

Headed by Fabrice de la Patelliere, Canal Plus’ fiction division has co-financed and co-developed upscale English-language drama series including Tom Fontana’s “Borgia” and Gallic crimers “Spiral” and “Braquo.” Its annual budget for 2012 is approximately €50 million ($61 million).

Under Katie O’ Connell, Gaumont Intl. Television has been working with U.S. partners: Bryan Fuller series “Hannibal,” starring Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen, was picked up by NBC, while Eli Roth series “Hemlock Grove,” starring Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgard, was acquired by Netflix.

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