×

Finnish Media Fund IPR Bets on ‘The Red Harlequin’s’ Development

Set up at Pantomimus, project based on Italian Roberto Ricci's YA fantasy books saga

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain – Finland’s leading media fund IPR is financing the development of TV series project “The Red Harlequin,” based on Italian writer Roberto Ricci’s young adult fantasy books saga.

The partnership follows a deal inked by the Finnish fund with Pantomimus Media, the company Ricci, agent Lisa Hryniewicz and creative director Pascal Demure have launched to hold and develop all “The Red Harlequin” rights.

Conceived as a transmedia project, “The Red Harlequin” will have the TV series at its heart.

As a TV drama, “The Red Harlequin’s” first season is envisaged as a 12-episode one hour drama with an international cast and an estimated budget of €30 million ($34.8 million) per season. Pantomimus is in final negotiations with a U.K. head writer and showrunner, Ricci told Variety.

“As IPR invests in development with the aim of financing the actual production, the plan is for our pact to continue beyond development,” he added.

According to Timo Argillander, managing partner at IPR,“this is a unique and compelling IP whose content can easily extend from books and comics to a plethora of formats and adaptations such as TV, music, video-games, film and licensing.”

“The Red Harlequin” is set in an ancient, alternate world where Chromes and Harlequins live divided by colors, and everyone hides behind masks.

“I started writing ‘The Red Harlequin’ soon after some powerful movements such as Los Indignados, Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring began to shake consciences in their respective countries,” Ricci said.

“I wanted to find a way that went beyond time and beyond current events. As I had always been fascinated by masks, I decided to draw on the Italian ‘Commedia Dell’Arte’ and create an alternate world.”

Although persecuted since the dawn of time, Harlequins are feared by Chromes as evil creatures with mysterious powers. The Harlequins hold the key to the truth of their world until Asheva, a young member of the Black Chromes, chooses a new path and eventually becomes The Red Harlequin, the most feared Harlequin of them all.

In the story, “the different color nations fight against each other, each suspicious of the other, each feeling morally superior to the other, and each one afraid of the diversity of the other. I would say that this is very similar to current events, where fear seems to drive political and economic decisions instead of collaboration and dialogue,” Ricci said.

He added: “The same holds true for masks. In ‘The Red Harlequin,’ people wear masks in public and I’m not sure that in real life things are much different. The changing force, the one that tears down the masks of hypocrisy, is youth.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Steven Knight

    ‘Peaky Blinders’ Creator Steven Knight to Adapt ‘SAS: Rogue Heroes’ for BBC

    “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight, Oscar nominated for “Dirty Pretty Things,” is to adapt Ben Macintyre’s book “SAS: Rogue Heroes” for the BBC. The drama series will tell the story of how the British special forces unit, the SAS, came to be formed. The series will be produced by Kudos, whose credits include “Broadchurch” and [...]

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content