Italian producer Fabio Conversi is ramping up TV production with a raft of projects following his first series, “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair,” which will open the inaugural edition of the Canneseries festival’s international competition. Among the works in development are adaptations of the soon-to-be-published new book by “Harry Quebert” author Joel Dicker and the bestselling novel “The Boy Who Granted Dreams.”
“Harry Quebert” has so far been sold by MGM Television to EPIX for North America and TF1 for France.
The Paris-based Conversi, who for years co-produced films by top Italian directors such as Paolo Sorrentino and distributed them in France, says he has now put film distribution on “stand-by” in order to ride the wave of high-end shows mostly based on books such as “Harry Quebert,” which is by bestselling Swiss author Joel Dicker.
Conversi’s latest literary rights acquisition is Italian author Luca di Fulvio’s “The Boy Who Granted Dreams,” which blends romance, crime and historical saga. It begins with a young Sicilian girl named Cetta who, after being raped, disembarks on Ellis Island with her fatherless child. The widely translated book has been a bestseller in Germany.
Di Fulvio is writing a bible for the TV adaptation with young Italian screenwriter Giacomo Bendotti (“The Wait”).
“I’m now dedicating myself to TV projects which I consider to basically be extended feature films,” said Conversi, noting that Jean-Jacques Annaud directed all 10 episodes of “Harry Quebert,” effectively making it “an eight-hour Annaud movie.”
Other skeins in various stages that Conversi is developing via his Barbary Films shingle include:
— an adaptation of Dicker’s upcoming novel “The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer,” which will be published in France in March. Conversi has also acquired rights to Dicker’s first book “The Last Days of Our Fathers,” which is about the SOE, an underground branch of the British Intelligence Service and the crucial role it played during the final part of World War II. Conversi is planning to adapt this into a series as well. He now has rights to all of Dicker’s works.
— epic saga “Nostradamus,” based on a trilogy by Italian author Valerio Evengelisti, about the 16th century French soothsayer. Italy’s Ludovica Rampoldi (“Gomorrah”) and Stefano Sardo (“1992”) are among screenwriters of what Conversi envisions as a high-end Italian project. He is in talks with several Italian directors, including Claudio Cupellini (“Gomorrah”) and Pietro Messina (“Suburrra 2”), to direct.
— “France Nostra,” a saga about ties between the Sicilian and Corsican mobs and French politics, based on Arte-produced documentary “Mafia et La Republique” and penned by prominent French scribe Abdel Raouf Dafri. The project is sparking plenty of buzz, according to Conversi.
— “Story of O,” adapted from the classic erotic novel classic, which Conversi claims is the “best known French novel in the world.” The series will be about author Anne Desclos writing the book (under the pseudonym Pauline Réage) and will be devoid of nudity “aside from some ’50 Shades’ interludes of her fantasies while she is writing.” Conversi is seeking a female director for the series.