Hollywood super-indie banner Anonymous Content (“True Detective,” “Defending Jacob”) is partnering with Païva Studio, a production label owned by French media group Mediawan, on “Civilizations,” an ambitious series based on Laurent Binet’s (“HHhH”) bestselling novel.
The epic series, set to be shot in South America and Europe in several languages, delivers a plausible rewriting of global history in which Christopher Columbus never discovered America and the Incas came to Europe.
Paiva Studio and Mediawan Rights, the commercial arm of the group, have acquired the adaptation rights to “Civilizations” which was published in August 2019 in French by Grasset and was awarded the prestigious “Grand Prix du Roman” 2019 by the Académie Française. The translation rights for “Civilizations” have already been acquired for 16 languages. Binet’s (pictured) most famous novel is “HHhH” which was translated into 34 languages and adapted for the big screen in 2017 by Cédric Jimenez, with a cast headlined by Jason Clarke and Rosamund Pike.
Juggling with historical codes and literary styles, the plot of “Civilizations” unfolds in an alternate world where Colombus never reaches America and the Incas prevail. The book shows how world history would have to be rewritten if Native Americans had been able to resist the conquistadors with horses, iron and antibodies.
“This hypothesis is at the centre of ‘Civilizations,’ the story of inverted globalization which, ultimately, could have just as easily become our reality,” said Paiva Studio, which is headed by Simon Istolainen.
Istolainen, CEO of Païva, said the alliance with Anonymous Content, “one of the most creative and prestigious studio in Hollywood,” will give the novel “global exposure and the ambition it deserves.”
“The tone of the series will be ‘Don Quixote’ meets ‘Game of Thrones,'” said Istolainen, who added that Païva and Anonymous Content were in the process of looking for a prominent U.S. showrunner and have already enlisted Benjamin Dupas, a screenwriter whose credits include “Un village Francais” and “Vernon Subutex,” to join the pool of writers.
Anonymous Content’s Keith Redmon, whose production credits include “The Revenant” and George Clooney’s upcoming “The Midnight Sky,” said he was looking forward to “[partnering] with Mediawan and their Paiva Studio, two best-in-class teams, to bring Laurent’s riveting exploration of what might have been to a global audience.”
Anonymous Content is behind “True Detective,” “Spotlight,” “The Revenant,” “Mr. Robot” and “Schitt’s Creek” as well as “Defending Jacob.” The banner also manages top talent such as Emma Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Anna Faris, Bill Condon, Austin Butler and Mahershala Ali.
Aside from “Civilizations,” Istolainen is developing an untitled espionage series created by Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz, co-writers of Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman.” He previously produced the Netflix Original movie “The Angel.”