Marco Bellocchio to Direct Series on Kidnapping of Former Italian Leader (EXCLUSIVE)

Italian auteur Marco Bellocchio and FremantleMedia Italy are in advanced development on a limited TV series about the 1978 kidnapping and assassination of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro by Red Brigades terrorists.

The veteran helmer, who previously recounted Moro’s still-mysterious abduction in the 2005 film “Goodmorning, Night” from the viewpoint of one of his captors, will take a different narrative approach in the series. The show is titled “Esterno, Notte” in Italian, which translates as “Exterior, Night.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Moro kidnapping, which ended tragically with the Christian Democrat politician’s bullet-riddled body found in the trunk of a parked car in downtown Rome. Italy reeled from the killing. 

The six one-hour episodes will reconstruct the 55 days of Moro’s imprisonment “with each episode narrating the 1978 tragedy from a different point of view,” said FremantleMedia Italy chief Lorenzo Mieli. He added that, unlike the movie, the TV series’ multiple perspectives will not include that of any of the Red Brigades terrorists.

Mieli said points of view through which Bellocchio will now delve into the Moro affair include those of Italy’s president at the time, Giovanni Leone, of Pope Paul VI, of Moro’s friends and family, and the country’s police and secret services. 

“It’s like Bellocchio’s film, but seen from the other side, through shifting perspectives,” said Mieli, who called it “a brilliant idea that is very original and emotionally powerful.”

 Bellocchio is writing a series treatment with Italian screenwriters Stefano Bises (“Gomorrah”) and Nicola Lusuardi (“1992”) and Corriere Della Sera journalist Giovanni Bianconi.

FremantleMedia is shopping the project internationally at MipTV. The plan is for Bellocchio to start shooting next year after he finishes his upcoming feature film, “The Traitor,” a biopic of Mafia boss-turned-informant Tommaso Buscetta, which is expected to go into production this summer. 

Mieli said that “Exterior, Night” is generating interest from broadcasters in Italy and in Europe but that his business model  is to close deals once the screenplay is almost completely written, just as he’s done with other high-end shows FremantleMedia Italy has produced, such as “The Young Pope” and the upcoming Elena Ferrante adaptation “My Brilliant Friend.” 

“We prefer to make the initial investment [in development] and get to the point on the creative side where we are very convinced,” he said. “Then, who is really interested will make the best offer.”

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