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More International Cast Members Join ‘The Name of the Rose’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Production starts on $32 million TV adaptation of Umberto Eco’s novel

An international cast has been assembled for the upcoming series adaptation of “The Name of the Rose” as production gets underway in Italy this week.

John Turturro and Rupert Everett have already been cast for the key roles, respectively, of William of Baskerville, the 14th-century Franciscan monk who investigates a series of grisly murders, and his antagonist, Inquisitor Bernard Gui. Sebastian Koch, star of Oscar-winning German film “The Lives of Others,” has now been confirmed, as have James Cosmo (“SS-GB”) and Richard Sammel (“Inglourious Basterds”).

The cast also includes Fabrizio Bentivoglio (“Human Capital”), Greta Scarano (“Suburra”), Stefano Fresi (“I Can Quit Whenever I Want”), and Piotr Adamczyk (“Karol: A Man Who Became Pope”).

The eight-part series is adapted from Umberto Eco’s bestselling novel. Set in Italy in 1327, the story follows William of Baskerville and his apprentice, Adso of Melk, as they hunt down a serial killer in an Alpine monastery. Rising young German actor Damien Hardung (“The Red Band Society”) had already been announced as playing Adso.

Giacomo Battiato is directing and said it was “difficult to express the emotion caused by putting together and adapting one of the 20th century’s greatest achievements in literature.”

Germany’s Tele Muenchen Group is a production partner on the €26 million ($31.8 million) series and is handling distribution through its TM International division, kicking off presales this week at NATPE in Miami.

Herbert L. Kloiber, managing director of TMG, said: “We are thrilled by the quality of talent that is working in front of and behind the camera to make ‘The Name of the Rose’ a high class, state-of-the-art adaptation that will live up to Umberto Eco’s masterpiece.”

The project was initiated by Italy’s 11 Marzo Film, and Palomar has come on as a coproducer. It is being made in association with the Rai Fiction, and the Italian pubcaster will show it locally.

Eleonora Andreatta, director of Rai Fiction, said: “’The Name of the Rose’ represents another important piece of the Rai Fiction proposal that pushes its stories even beyond national borders. In this production we see the best of what an international perspective can offer with unique Italian talents.”

The 19-week shoot started Monday, with studio scenes shot in the historic Cinecittà Studios in Rome.

Eco’s novel was first published in 1980, going on to sell over 50 million copies globally. A movie adaptation, from Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Sean Connery, came out in 1986.

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