Producers Say U.S. Is Warming Up to Multi-National TV Series

CANNES – Transatlantic marriages between talent and biz partners were lauded at the presentations of major drama series at content mart MipTV Monday.

U.S. showrunner Ed Bernero (“Criminal Minds”) — presenting crime series “Crossing Lines” — stressed that he was keen to include thesps from several territories, including William Fichtner (“Prison Break”) and Tom Wlaschiha (“Game of Thrones”), in the show as it follows a pan-European detective agency – modelled on the FBI — so the multinational cast was integral to the drama.

He added that having actors with a range of foreign accents wasn’t an issue for NBC, which has U.S. rights.

“It is going to be part of what they sell as the show. The notion that Americans don’t like accents is getting less and less all the time. People are pretty used to international productions,” Bernero said.

The skein is a multi-national creation, as it was produced by Germany’s Tandem Communications, which is majority owned by France’s Studiocanal, and France’s TF1 is co-producing. Sony Pictures Television Networks has acquired some international rights.

Another show with mixed heritage that was unveiled Monday was “Low Winter Sun.” Endemol Studios, the L.A. production arm of the Dutch company, produced the Detroit-set drama about corrupt cops for AMC in the States. The show is based on a British miniseries that was produced by Tiger Aspect, which Endemol owns.

The two leads, Mark Strong and Lennie James (“The Walking Dead”), are British actors playing American cops. Showrunner Chris Mundy, who also worked on “Criminal Minds,” is from the American Midwest.

Asked why there were so many U.K. actors working in U.S. series, Strong said that he sees a difference in the tradition of acting in the U.K.: “It’s a job, it’s your craft, and you do it to the best of your ability. It’s not a mystical thing. It’s not something you need to get too psychologically bogged down in,” he said. “Your job is to know what you’re doing and not sap everybody’s energy and time by making what you do complicated.”

The other major show being launched at MipTV on Monday was also a hybrid: Starz’s “Da Vinci’s Demons” has an American showrunner, David S. Goyer, British lead actor Tom Riley, and is distributed by BBC Worldwide.

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