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Dustin Hoffman, Richard Madden to Star in TV Drama About Italy’s Medici Family

Dustin Hoffman and “Game of Thrones” alum Richard Madden have been tapped to star in an eight-part drama series chronicling the rise of Italian Renaissance political dynasty, the Medici family.

Medici: Masters of Florence,” which is produced by Matilde and Luca Bernabei’s Lux Vide, and Frank Spotnitz’s Big Light Productions, has Madden playing enterprising son Cosimo de’ Medici and Hoffman in a pivotal role as family patriarch, Giovanni de’ Medici. The story will concentrate on the family’s ascent from simple merchants to power brokers who sparked an economic and cultural revolution. Along the way, they also accrue a long list of powerful enemies.

“The Medici came to power at a time of great social and economic inequality,” said Spotnitz. “They were great disrupters. Their banking practices led to the creation of a middle class, making them unimaginably wealthy. The Medici in turn used their vast power and resources to challenge traditional thinking, ushering in a new era of revolutionary art and science such as the world had never seen. It’s a powerful story that resonates even now.”

Spotnitz (“The X-Files”) created the series with Nicholas Meyer (“Houdini”). He is exec producing with Matilde and Luca Bernabei (“Coco Chanel”). Steven Spielberg protege Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (“Under the Dome”) will direct all eight hour-long episodes. Principal photography will begin this month on location in Rome and Florence, and includes unprecedented access to Palazzo Vecchio, the Basilica di San Lorenzo, the Duomo and other sites where the actual events occurred.

“The legacy of the Medici family is so profound that their impact on the Renaissance is immeasurable. The foundations they laid in business and culture reach into the modern world today, which gives our story great breadth and depth,” said Matilde and Luca Bernabei, Lux Vide’s Chairman and CEO, respectively. “After seven centuries, their story remains a compelling one, full of intrigue, power, art and faith. The historic and artistic heritage they left us still lives on, and we hope that it will inspire a new Renaissance in Italy, Europe and throughout the world. Because of the project’s cultural importance, we wanted to bring the best talents to the series; great writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz and the incomparable actors Dustin Hoffman and Richard Madden.”

RAI will broadcast the series in Italy. Wild Bunch’s newly announced television division is overseeing international sales, which will launch at MIPCOM in a few weeks.

“Wild Bunch is very proud to announce the launch of its TV department with their participation as co-financier and international distributor in such a tremendous project, along with all the renown partners and the amazing talents attached to it,” said Carole Baraton, in charge of Wild Bunch TV. “We are all the happier as this series is perfectly representative of what the Wild Bunch TV editorial line is to be — to deliver a very modern-noir take on the epic of the Renaissance period.”

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