Sky is building its slate of originals in Italy with “Romulus,” a 10-part series about the origin of Rome from Cattleya, the Italian producer that makes “Gomorrah.” Non-English-language drama is in vogue, but “Romulus” takes that a step further by having the characters speak in archaic Latin.
Matteo Rovere, known for his movie work, is attached to direct his first TV series. His shingle, Groenlandia, will co-produce. “‘Romulus’ is a story about feelings, war, brotherhood, courage and fear,” he said. “It is a great, epic fresco, a highly realistic reconstruction of the events that led to the foundation of Rome. But above all it is an investigation into the origins and the profound meaning of power in the West: a journey into an archaic and frightening world, where everything is sacred and people feel the mysterious and hostile presence of the gods everywhere.”
Rovere is familiar with the subject matter, having helmed the film “Romulus & Remus: The First King,” which scored international deals before having a market screening at Cannes. Michele Alhaique and Enrico Maria Artale will also direct installments of the 10-part TV series.
The cast includes Andrea Arcangeli (“Trust”), Marianna Fontana (“Indivisible”), and Francesco Di Napoli (“Piranhas”). The story will be told through three main characters, two men and a woman, who decide to shape their own destinies instead of passively suffering their fate.
Cattleya is owed by ITV, and international sales are being handled by ITV Studios Global Entertainment. Filming starts in Rome in early June and will continue for 28 weeks in the Italian capital and its surroundings.
“’Romulus’ is an epic series in the true sense of the word, an international project featuring some of the youngest and outstanding Italian talents,” said Nicola Maccanico, EVP for programming at Sky Italia. “A project that has at its heart what is perhaps the most recognizable brand of our country, Rome, which is once again set to attract worldwide attention with a great story to tell – that of the founding of the Eternal City and its myth.”
Riccardo Tozzi, founding partner of Cattleya, added the team want to tell the story of “the origin of Rome’s power, and the interrelationship among the main events that made it possible.”