Based on a series of popular adventure novels penned by Italian author Emilio Salgari, “Sandokan” chronicles the adventures of the titular pirate who, with his motley crew, fights against the colonial power of the Dutch and British empires in Southeast Asia.
The original “Sandokan,” directed in 1976 by Sergio Sollima, catapulted Indian actor Kebir Bedi to Bollywood stardom, having sold to more than 85 countries around the world.
The reboot, which is the brainchild of Lux CEO Luca Bernabei, will pair Yaman — who besides being a star in Turkey has global fans thanks to the popularity of Turkish dramas — with Italian actor Luca Argentero (“DOC,” “Eat Pray Love”) who will play fellow pirate Yanez, Sandokan’s loyal sidekick.
The show is written by Alessandro Sermoneta (“Devils”) and Davide Lantieri (“The Guest”) and purports to be “a fresh and modern take on the world of Salgari,” according to a statement.
The production, currently in development, is set to start principal photography in 2021 in Lux Vide’s own studios outside Rome, as well as “exotic international locations,” the statement said. The first 8-episode season is being bankrolled by Lux, which is in talks with broadcasters and platforms to come on board.
In separate Lux news, the company is also launching a podcast label for which it has partnered with RTL, among Italy’s top radio networks.
Starting in January, Lux Vide will roll out its podcast productions in Italy. The slate includes crime podcast “Alleghe,” inspired by the true story behind a series of murders known as the Alleghe mysteries that took place between 1933 and 1946 near a lake of the same name in Italy’s Veneto region, and also “Women of the Bible,” an adaptation of Lux Vide’s eponymous Emmy-winning “The Bible” TV movie series, told from a female perspective.
In the scripted and factual podcast pipeline are also “Mythical Stories,” described in promotional materials as providing “a modern family twist on classic myths and legends,” narrated by Italian multi-hyphenate Giovanni Scifoni, and the inspirational “Against all Odds,” which is said to be “dedicated to real stories of exceptional men and women.”
COVID-19 has prompted a surge in podcast listeners in Italy. According to Nielsen, in 2020, podcast consumption in the country was up by 15%, adding 1.8 million more listeners compared to 2019. IPSOS reports that, by now, 30% of Italians tune in to at least one podcast each month, representing an audience of 8.5 million regular listeners.
In a statement, Lux Vide CEO Luca Bernabei called the podcast partnership with RTL radio “just the beginning of one of many future collaborations between our two companies.” RTL CEO Lorenzo Suraci said the goal is to “create and innovate a brand-new cross-platform product, both online and on air.”