ROME – Two cult Italian properties, spaghetti Western “Django” and Dario Argento chiller “Suspiria,” are set to be adapted into English-language TV skeins, in what amounts to a milestone deal for Italy’s TV industry and its efforts to become more international.
Atlantique Productions, the prominent French producer of high-end English-language drama series for the global market, and Cattleya, Italy’s top independent film and TV production company, have inked a co-development and co-production agreement to turn the two cult movies into TV series.
The first skein, “Django,” will be a re-imagining of Sergio Corbucci’s cult Western rooted in the high-concept spaghetti Western tradition, “but with the grit and edginess of modern television dramas,” a joint press release said.
Atlantique Productions acquired the rights to develop and produce an English-language television series based on Corbucci’s iconic 1966 Western which has spawned several sequels and homages, most notably Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 blockbuster “Django Unchained” (pictured).
The second skein, “Suspiria De Profundis,” is inspired by 19th century English writer Thomas De Quincey’s eponymous book, which was made into the classic Italian horror film “Suspiria” in 1977 by Dario Argento. Argento will serve as the series’ artistic supervisor.
Directors, showrunners, and casts have yet to be announced. Skeins, now in development stage, will be shopped to broadcasters at the upcoming Mip TV mart in Cannes.
“Suspiria De Profundis” will be an English-language period horror series in which the author De Quincey is the lead character. “Styled as a new Sherlock Holmes,” and set in London and Rome between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, “the story will explore psychological fantasies of evil and attempt to solve fearful mysteries,” according to the press release. It added that “the storylines will reflect the clash between light and dark, progress and regression.”
Both Django and Suspiria De Profundis will be 12 episode 50 minutes’ series with storylines developing over multiple seasons.
“This co-production deal is a milestone in our strategy to partner with the most innovative producers in Europe,” enthused Olivier Bibas, CEO of Atlantique Productions.
Bibas noted that both ‘Django’ and ‘Suspiria De Profundis’ are perfect for television and also perfect vehicles for co-production. “Our ambition is to produce two series that combine unforgettable characters, strong political undertones and social comment — with the pace, production values and storylines that will appeal to a new generation of viewers,” he added.
“We are inspired to be working on these two remarkable projects with Atlantique Productions, a European producer so focused on the international market,” said Riccardo Tozzi, topper of Cattleya.
“Cattleya’s role on these series marks a further step in our plan to produce high-end English-language series. And, of course, we are extremely proud to be working with Dario Argento, the most classical among living horror directors and a leading figure for an entire generation of filmmakers.”
Atlantique Productions’ Olivier Bibas and creative director Patrick Nebout will act as executive producers on both shows, alongside Cattleya partners Riccardo Tozzi, Giovanni Stabilini and Marco Chimenz.
Cattleya’s filmography includes more than 60 feature films and a dozen television productions. Its hit skeins include “Crime Novel,” which aired on Rupert Murdoch’s Sky paybox in Italy and Canal Plus in France, and the gritty “Gomorrah,” set amid the Naples’ Camorra crime syndicate, which aired on Sky and sold to more than 100 territories.
Atlantique’s best-known credits include Tom Fontana’s “Borgia” and “Transporter.” They are rebooting the French sci-fi hit series “Metal Hurlant Chronicles” and last year joined forces with Keshet U.K., the London arm of Israel’s Keshet Intl. (KI), to develop “Crater Lake,” a drama series created by Ron Leshem.