ROME — Italian producer Aurelio De Laurentiis, nephew of late great movie mogul Dino De Laurentiis, is taking his cue from the U.S. preem today of his Italo laffer “The Big Score” to announce his first foray into the international TV arena with serial killer thriller “I Kill” and plans to also get back into the English-language film biz.
“The Big Score,” which bows during the Los Angeles-Italia fest today (Monday, Feb. 22) at the Hollywood and Highland Center, is a caper film starring Italian A-listers Carlo Verdone and Antonio Albanese. Pic revolves around a private investigator, a client who hires him to obtain proof that his wife is a cheat, and a suitcase full of cash. De Laurentiis sees it as ripe for a U.S. remake.
That aside, the prominent Italian industryite, who branched out from movies into sports more than a decade ago by purchasing the SSC Napoli soccer club, says plans are under way for production to kick off this summer on “I Kill,” an English-language TV series based on the eponymous noir by Italian author Giorgio Faletti. The book sold more than 5 million copies and has been published in 35 countries. Set in Monte Carlo, “I Kill” centers on a murderer who systematically kills the rich and famous and calls in clues to a local radio show. U.S. screenwriter Anthony Cipriano, whose credits include A&E Network’s “Bates Motel” series, has penned the script for a pilot, which he turned in last month. The bible for a 12-episode “I Kill” skein is ready, and writing is being done on drafts for subsequent seasons.
“We expect to go into production at the end of this summer when all the screenplays are ready, and the cast and various directors are finalized,” De Laurentiis said. His Filmauro shingle is shouldering all costs at this stage and looking to pre-sell territory-by-territory.
Filmauro is also in advanced development stages on an English-language movie adaptation of Massimo Carlotto’s revenge thriller “Death’s Dark Abyss,” published around the world, including the U.K. and U.S.
“The action takes place in Italy, but the main character is American,” De Laurentiis said. “We have a screenplay in English and are picking a director,” he added.
“Abyss” is about a man seeking to exact revenge after losing his wife and child in an armed robbery gone wrong. Carlotto has been praised as a master of the “Mediterranean noir” genre.
“Over the past 15 years I’ve dedicated myself largely to soccer and movies tailor-made for the Italian market,” said De Laurentiis whose last Hollywood production was the 2004 retro sci-fi “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” with a cast comprising Angelina Jolie, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow.
But now De Laurentiis (pictured with Verdone) is ready to broaden his scope, even when it comes to the Italian movies he makes.
Case in point is “The Big Score,” which opened at No. 1 in Italy at the end of January via Filmauro and has since pulled a solid more than $9 million.
“‘The Big Score’ has two main characters who are both goofy underdogs and a well-crafted narrative that can resonate all over the world,” he said. “It’s ripe for a remake with two U.S. stars,” De Laurentiis opined.
Remakes of commercial Italian pics are not a novelty in Hollywood, most notably Martin Brest’s Oscar-winning Al Pacino-starrer “Scent of a Woman,” the Italian original of which was helmed by Dino Risi. More recently Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Everybody’s Fine,” which stars Marcello Mastroianni, was remade into a 2009 Robert De Niro vehicle directed by Kirk Jones. In January a Chinese remake of “Fine,” directed by Meng Zhang, was released in China.