French star Romain Duris is set to topline the TV adaptation of “Vernon Subutex,” Virginie Despentes’ bestselling novel. Canal Plus, the French pay-TV channel behind “The Returned,” has commissioned the series.
“Vernon Subutex” will be directed by Cathy Verney, who previously helmed the Canal Plus show “Hard” and France Televisions’ series “Desperate Parents.” Verney is writing the script of “Vernon Subutex” with Benjamin Dupas (“Call My Agent!”).
“Vernon Subutex,” which is set to start shooting next spring, is being produced by Juliette Favreul Renaud and Estelle Sanson at Paris-based banner 27.11 Production and Emmanuel Daucé at Tetra Media Fiction.
The French series, comprising nine half-hour episodes, will follow the journey of Vernon Subutex, a formerly sought-after bachelor who ran a popular music shop in Paris in his heyday and finds himself down and out on the Paris streets. Broke and unemployed, Vernon feel his most prized possession is the last filmed recordings of his friend and benefactor Alex Bleach, a famous singer who has just died of a drug overdose.
The novel “Vernon Subutex” has been lauded by critics for its richly layered, dark-humored and crystalline depiction of contemporary French society. The TV adaptation will place a large emphasis on the dark comedy and irreverent tone of the book, in the vein of “Californication.” As a vibrant, colorful backdrop, Paris will also likely have a big role in the show.
The character of Subutex will be played by Duris, one of France’s biggest acting talents, who has worked with Cedric Klapisch on many films, including “The Spanish Apartment,” Michel Gondry on “The Foam of the Days,” Pascal Chaumeil on “Heartbreaker” and Jacques Audiard on “The Beat That My Heart Skipped.”
Several novels by Despentes have been adapted into films, most notably the controversial “Baise Moi” (“Rape Me”), which Despentes, a fearless feminist, co-directed with Coralie Trinh Thi.