In a bid to level the playing field with market leader Netflix, Carlos Slim-owned streaming service Claro Video has financed “Rubirosa” (a working title), an ambitious trilogy of feature films based on the life of the late Dominican diplomat Porfirio Rubirosa who many consider the original inspiration for Ian Fleming’s iconic playboy spy, James Bond.
Shot back-to-back in the Dominican Republic on higher-than-average budgets, the trilogy stars Colombian actor Manolo Cardona (“Narcos,” “La Hermandad”) as the titular Rubirosa whose 11:11 Films & TV produces the films alongside the Dominican Republic’s Lokal Productions.
Hugo Rodriguez (“Nicotina,” “La Hermandad”) and Carlos Moreno (“Dog Eat Dog”) co-direct the films which feature a pan-Latin cast that includes Damian Alcazar (“Narcos”) Ana Serradilla (“La Viuda Negra”), Jorge Perugorria (“Viva”) and Carolina Guerra (“Animal Kingdom”).
The trilogy delves into the life of Rubirosa who served as a diplomat for then dictator Rafael Trujillo whose daughter, Flor de Oro Trujillo, became Rubirosa’s first wife. He was married four other times, including to heiresses Doris Duke and Barbara Hutton. An avid polo player and race car driver, he was renowned for his prowess with women, with a list of alleged conquests that include Dolores del Rio, Veronica Lake, Eartha Kitt, Eva Perón, Princess Soraya, Kim Novak, Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
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Set in various countries including the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, the U.S. and Argentina, and against two world wars, “Rubirosa” spans more than five decades, from 1909 to 1965.
“Claro Video will play an extended version of the films after its theatrical distribution,” said Cardona, adding that the SVOD service will handle international sales, which kick off at Natpe. “There have been many attempts to make a film about Rubirosa,” he said.
The Cardona brothers, comprised of actor-producer Manolo, director-producer Juancho and producer-international relations exec Francisco, have made a slew of films and TV series since they founded 11:11Films & TV in 2005.
Among its many productions, 11:11 made Claro Video’s first original series, “La Hermandad” (“The Brotherhood”), a psychological crime thriller series starring (Manolo) Cardona. Two seasons have aired and seasons 3 and 4 are in development, said Cardona. Juancho Cardona is directing another original series for Claro Video, “La Negociadora.”
Owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, Mexico-based Claro Video has been investing in more original content in a bid to catch up with Netflix which dominates the Latin American SVOD market.