ROME — Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, whose new film “The Neon Demon” will compete at the Cannes Film Festival, is set to segue as a showrunner on the high-profile Italian TV series “Les Italiens,” a noir about a squad of French/Italian policemen working in Paris’ famous Quai des Orfevres headquarters.
The eight/10-episode “Italiens” is being co-produced by Italy’s Lucisano Media Group with the “Drive” director’s own Space Rocket Nation shingle. Lucisano has confirmed plans for the ambitious skein to start shooting in Paris before year’s end, after Refn is done promoting “Demon.” They did so while announcing a deal to co-distribute the hotly anticipated pic with Milan-based Koch Media. “Demon,” which stars Elle Fanning and Keanu Reeves, is a chiller set in the Los Angeles fashion world where an aspiring model’s youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women.
Refn is expected to shoot the first episode of “Italiens” himself to set the tone and then take on a showrunner role. The show, which will revisit classic French noir tropes, is based on best-selling books by Italian noir author Enrico Pandiani. They revolve around tough and violent inspector Pierre Mordenti, who is the antithesis of Maigret. The all-Italian squad delves into Paris homicides with political backstories, international secret service intrigues in Eastern Europe and bloody deeds committed in the French countryside, among other atmospheric settings.
While Amazon will handle the U.S. release of “Neon Demon,” an inside source said Refn and Lucisano are in talks with Netflix on “Italiens,” which will mark Refn’s second foray into TV. He directed two episodes of long-running U.K. TV series “Agatha Christie’s Marple” in 2004.
Refn was involved as executive producer in a long-gestating “Barbarella” TV series reboot set up at Amazon Studios in 2014 which has not been made.