Italy’s Lucisano Media Group and Pascal Breton’s Paris-based Federation Entertainment have signed a deal to co-develop and co-produce a high-end TV series based on U.S. author Glenn Cooper’s “Library of the Dead” trilogy of thrillers.
The partnership to adapt these global bestsellers is being touted by Lucisano Group, which is among Italy’s oldest producers of film and TV genre content, as “an important step” towards becoming more international, the company said in a statement. Lucisano’s English-language releases include “Drive” by Nicolas Winding Refn, with whom it is developing a previously announced TV series “Les Italiens.”
The “Library of the Dead” trilogy features a New York-based FBI agent named Will Piper and involves a library situated under an ancient monastery where deadly secrets are concealed. Cooper’s books have been translated into 31 languages and sold over 6 million copies worldwide, and are particularly popular in Italy.
“With a qualified partner like Federation Entertainment we will be able to maximize the value of the TV adaptation of a series of novels that have great artistic and commercial potential…and have riveted millions of readers around the world,” Paola Lucisano, who heads the group’s TV unit, said in a statement.
Federation Entertainment chief Pascal Breton confirmed the development deal. He said it was one of several projects he is partnering on with Lucisano and the “first one that is completely signed and confirmed.”
Breton said that two prominent Italian screenwriters, whose names he did not disclose, are writing a first series adaptation of “Library of the Dead,” which will be shopped around internationally with hopes of getting the show financed and greenlit next year, given that “it’s a very strong, ambitious property.”
He added that the planned “Library of the Dead” skein will most probably be in English, though it can be partially set in Italy “because part of the story is set in the Middle Ages.”
Lucisano Group, which was founded in 1958 by Fulvio Lucisano, has produced a vast number of genre movies over the decades, ranging from Mario Bava’s pulpy 1965 classic “Planet of the Vampires” to Franco Zeffirelli’s “The Young Toscanini,” starring Elizabeth Taylor, and more recently local teen hit “Night Before Exams” and social comedy “Nessuno mi può giudicare.” Its upcoming show “Les Italiens” is about a squad of French/Italian policemen working in Paris’ famous Quai des Orfevres headquarters, which Refn is expected to showrun next year.
Following a 2011 flotation, Lucisano Group is a publicly traded company on the Milan bourse.
Federation Entertainment, a leading player in international drama and kids’ entertainment and the company behind Netflix’s first French original series, “Marseille,” has been developing close ties with Italy lately. Last month they acquired a 51% stake in Rome-based Fabula Pictures, which made Netflix’s second Italian original production, “Baby,” due to bow Nov. 30.