Muriel Sauzay, Pathe Intl.’s former head, and Agnès Mentré, Wild Bunch’s former acquisition topper, have launched Maremako, a Paris-based banner banner with a special interest in adaptations and remakes.
The company’s first slate includes an English-language remake of “Stalk” with Endeavor Content, in association with Drake’s DreamCrew and Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Prods.; and “French Love,” a anthology series with Noemie Saglio (Netflix’s “The Hook Up Plan”) showrunning and Richard Grandpierre’s Eskwad producing. “Stalk” follows a teenage hacker who gets hazed in his freshman year at a prestigious engineering school and sets off to take his revenge by cyber-stalking his tormentors. The series was directed by Simon Bouisson and produced by Judith Nora and Priscilla Berlin at Silex Films.
“French Love,” meanwhile, will be based on the highly popular Elle magazine weekly column “C’est mon histoire” (It’s My Story). The column, which boasts one of the highest readerships of French women’s magazine segments on love stories in France, consists in first-person accounts of intimate stories shared by readers.
“It’s an iconic column in Elle which now has a 40-year history and it reflects our society and tackles current issues through the prism of personal stories,” said Sauzay, who headed international sales at Pathé for a decade and executive produced Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning film “The Great Beauty,” among others.
The series will comprise eight or 10 half-hour episodes and “will be edgy, youthful and keep Noemie Saglio’s light-hearted tone in ‘The Hook Up Plan,'” said Mentré, who was head of acquisitions at Miramax and the Weinstein Co. for 15 years before heading international acquisitions at Wild Bunch.
Saglio will direct some episodes and others will be directed by up-and-coming filmmakers. The showrunner will also be collaborating with screenwriting talent.
“At Maremako we’re able to combine our strengths, Agnes’ eye for acquisitions and my expertise as a sales executive; and that’s why we’re handling two different things, production of films and series, as well as the trading of remake rights,” said Sauzay.
Mentré, whose credits as executive producer include Roberto Benigni’s “Life Is Beautiful,” James Gray’s “Two Lovers,” Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” and Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 911,” pointed out that the company has ambitions to work on international and French properties, and is already handling over 70 projects, including Patrice Leconte’s “My Best Friend” with Daniel Auteuil, whose remake is in production in China. Other remakes in the pipeline include Nicolas Cuche’s “Second Chance,” which is in post-production in Poland; and Jean-Paul Salomé’s “Mama Weed,” with Isabelle Huppert.
Maremako is also set to co-produce Cédric Klapisch’s TV series “Salade Grecque” with Bruno Levy’s Ce Qui Me Meut, and adapted from Klapisch’s hit 2002 film “The Spanish Apartment.”
The company is also an associate producer on James Huth’s “Le Nouveau jouet,” which Eskwad is producing with Sony Pictures Intl. Prods. The remake of the 1976 Francis Veber pic “The Toy” is scheduled to start shooting this summer and will be distributed in France by Sony. Maremako is also developing the French remake of the cult U.S. series “Booth at the End” with “In Treatment” co-screenwriter Alexandre Manneville on board.
“We’ve seen that over the years, many remake rights were optioned and didn’t materialize; but the business is changing and today the transformation rate is much higher and quicker, partly due to the fact that the arrival of streaming services has raised the competition and demand for content to an unprecedented level,” said Sauzay.
In order to avoid selling options that sit on shelves, Mentré said the banner only sells option rights for 12 months that can only be renewed if the remake project is in development. “We’re also looking to limit the number of titles we take and concentrate on the ones we truly believe in — they need to have a concept that we can pitch in under two minutes,” said Mentré.