Comcast-owned Sky Studios and Italy’s Lux Vide launched financial thriller “Devils” on Monday at Mipcom in Cannes, where NBCUniversal Global Distribution has already closed sales deals with several undisclosed territories.
“Devils” reconstructs the dynamics that prompted the debt crisis that threatened to unravel the many European countries that use the euro as their currency. The show delves into the world of financial traders in London, Frankfurt and Milan, based on a book that will soon be out in English by Italian trader Guido Brera, who worked for Morgan Stanley in London.
The 10-episode skein starring Patrick Dempsey (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Alessandro Borghi (“Suburra”) is directed by Nick Hurran (“Altered Carbon“) and Jan Michelini (“Medici“) and produced by Sky and Lux Vide, in association with France’s Orange Studio.
The €25 million ($27.5 million) series is the first project that the Sky entity then known as Sky Vision, headed by Gary Davey, commissioned from Italy, said Lux Vide president Matilde Bernabei. Davey now heads Sky Studios, the recently launched in-house production unit of the pan-European pay-TV platform.
“Devils” will premiere in March day-and-date in all Sky territories, the main countries being the U.K., Italy, and Germany. It will then roll out globally in territories where NBCUniversal scores sales.
“Devils” marks a milestone for Italian TV because it’s the probably the only show ever made featuring an Italian lead, Borghi, who acts throughout in English, albeit with a slight Italian accent. Borghi plays the young, charismatic Italian chief broker of a London investment bank who enters into conflict with the firm’s American CEO, played by Dempsey, once he realizes that he’s being used as a pawn in what is essentially a U.S.-Europe economic conflict.
“The show narrates the hidden war between the U.S. and Europe in 2012 when U.S. [hedge] funds started launching speculative attacks on sovereign debt of several European countries,” says Lux Vide managing director Luca Bernabei.
Regarding the choice of Borghi, who is an A-lister in Italy and has international exposure thanks to “Suburra” but is still not an international household name, Bernabei said Lux initially feared that the market might not be ready for an Italian as the star of an international series, albeit cast in tandem with Patrick Dempsey.
Director Nick Hurran revealed that before picking Borghi they did “look at American leading men who were of Italian descent in one way or another…but it just felt like we would have been selling out.”
“The important thing about ‘Devils’ for us was that it was a true account…the tone of the show, the portrayal of the world. You had to buy that this was true,” he added.