Erik Barmack’s Wild Sheep Content, the new L.A.-based company of the former Netflix VP, has boarded steamy romantic comedy “Sweet Paprika,” the first animation project from internationally renowned comic book artist Mirka Andolfo (“Unnatural” “Mercy”).
Directed by Gabriele Pennacchiolo (“Love Death + Robots”), “Sweet Paprika,” which was originally announced last July, will be produced by Turin’s Arancia Studio and Gray Ladder Productions. Variety has also been given first-look access to three frames from an upcoming animated sequence.
Barmack and Wild Sheep will work as a creative producer on “Sweet Paprika.” Together with Grey Ladder and Arancia Studio, he will bring the project to global platforms and then serve as an executive producer.
Wild Sheep Content’s partnership on the project is its third high-profile animation announcement in the last few months. Barmack revealed last July that he was teaming with illustration influencer Nicholle Kobi on “Queens.” Barmack and Kobi have also sold “la Femme Noir” into development at the ViacomCBS-owned U.S. pay TV channel Black Entertainment Television (BET).
Building on these projects, “Sweet Paprika,” from another hugely distinctive female voice, positions Barmack as a producer of select but highly original, platform-bound animation.
From an original idea by Andolfo, and set in a world similar to ours but inhabited by characters with the appearance of angels and devils, “Sweet Paprika” turns on the erotic misadventures of a career-driven woman – Paprika – who reluctantly engages a charming, if immature, delivery boy named Dill. His “angelic” behavior makes him Paprika’s solar opposite. Consumed by her job at a major New York City publisher, Paprika learns to balance her own needs as she embarks on a frustrating, passionate romance with Dill.
In late October, Andolfo announced that she will also write and draw a “Sweet Paprika” comic book series, published by Image Comics, beginning in July of 2021, with Edizioni Star Comics releasing in Italy and Éditions Glénat in France. Arancia Studio is also producing the book.
“Mirka has the rare ability to enchant readers across the globe, and I couldn’t be more excited to help adapt her vision from page to screen with ‘Sweet Paprika,’” Barmack said. “It’s a charming, relevant, and hilarious foray into romantic comedy, and a project I couldn’t resist.”
“Erik has been a pioneer in global storytelling, introducing the most vital global voices to the biggest audiences,” Andolfo said. “It’s an honor to have him collaborate on ‘Sweet Paprika.’”
Pennacchioli, who received a 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for his role as supervising director on Netflix’s “Love Death + Robots,” will serve as director. Pennacchioli’s 25-year animated feature career takes in films such as “Shark Tale,” “Shrek the Third,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “How To Train Your Dragon,” among others.
Andolfo broke out to large international recognition with comic book series “Unnatural,” a erotic fantasy-romantic suspense story about a pig girl battling her corrupt, totalitarian government. The 31 years old Neapolitan artist and writer has collaborated with DC Comics since 2015, drawing for titles such as “Wonder Woman,” “Harley Quinn,” “DC Bombshells,” and “Teen Titans.”
At Netflix, Barmack was a decisive factor in its plunge into international original series, spearheading Netflix development on Mexico’s “Club of Crows,” its first fully non-English language original, Brazil’s “3%,” Spain’s “La Casa de Papel,” Denmark’s “The Rain,” Germany’s “Dark” and India’s “Sacred Games,” among many other series.
Exiting Netflix, Barmack established Wild Sheep Content in May 2019, yoking his huge enthusiasm and knowledge of international drama series production, plus sensitivity towards the consolidating – and often different – needs of streaming platforms in a company which could shape international projects for platform or studio distribution.
Announcing recently live action adaptations of the “Yakuza” and “Kingdom Come: Deliverance” video game franchizes, Wild Sheep Content has secured 12 projects into development with platforms, studios, and third-party financiers.