Canadian director Christian Duguay (“Belle & Sebastian,” “Coco Chanel”) is directing the third season of Frank Spotnitz’s “Medici” television saga, which has started shooting in Rome with Italian actor Francesco Montanari attached to play radical preacher Girolamo Savonarola, who became leader of Florence after the Medici family’s overthrow in 1494.
Duguay succeeds Jon Cassar (“24”), who helmed “Medici: Masters of Florence. The Magnificent Part I,” which was the show’s second season.
Montanari, who broke out internationally with Sky’s “Crime Novel,” more recently played the relentless anti-Mafia prosecutor who is the central character in pubcaster RAI’s hit “The Hunter.” He won the best performance prize for this role at the Cannesseries festival in April.
In the third “Medici” season, “Medici: Masters of Florence. The Magnificent Part II,” Florentine statesman and ruler Lorenzo De Medici, played by Daniel Sharman, “has become a man who will have to fight against his demons and defend Florence from new internal and external threats,” said producer Luca Bernabei, the CEO of Lux Vide.
Lorenzo will find himself clashing more and more with the rising discontent of the people, who find their inspiration in the figure of Savonarola, according to the show’s synopsis.
Lux Vide is producing in collaboration with Rai Fiction, Spotnitz’s Big Light Productions and Netherland’s-based Altice Group. Germany’s Beta Film is handling international sales. Like the previous “Medici” seasons, the third will play on Netflix in North America and several other territories
“Working with Lux and RAI on this series has been one of the great joys of my career,” said Spotnitz. “We were determined this season to tell a story that captured the majesty of the Renaissance as well as the heartbreaking tragedies the Medici endured. It’s been an exciting and at times deeply moving journey into the past.”
Cameras started rolling Monday on “Medici: Masters of Florence. The Magnificent Part II” in Lux Vide’s studios in Formello, outside Rome.
The first season of the high-end “Medici” saga, starring Dustin Hoffman as banker Giovanni de Medici, broke ratings records on RAI. The second skein, starring Sharman and Sean Bean, will premiere in October.
Bernabei noted that “in this third season there is of course all the beauty of our country, of Florence, its history, culture and the whole narrative of human complexity, starting from the figure of Lorenzo, who was a real star of his time….We want to tell the story of his being revolutionary, a visionary, and also the modernity of a man who has known how to use beauty as a powerful communication tool.”
The show’s writing team comprises regular “Medici” scribes James Dormer and Francesco Arlanch, and newcomers Guy Burt (“Alex Rider”), Charlotte Wolf (“Inspector George Gently”), Ian Kershaw (“EastEnders”) and Debbie Oates (“Coronation Street”).