Rossy de Palma (“Parallel Mothers”), the Spanish star who is known as Pedro Almodovar’s muse, is set to headline “Liberty’s,” a music-filled period drama set at an eccentric cabaret in occupied Paris.
The eight-part series was created and written by Cédric Le Gallo, the co-director of “The Shiny Shrimps,” which world premiered at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight in 2019. The series marks the TV drama debut of Le Gallo, who’s currently wrapped the sequel of “The Shiny Shrimps.”
Set in the picturesque Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre in 1942, the show unfolds at a drag artist cabaret which is a popular spot for Parisians and Nazis alike. The show follows Henri, the venue’s flamboyant owner, as he joins the resistance and begins a dangerous balancing act.
The story is inspired by the controversial life of artists who were faced with difficult decisions to either collaborate, resist or turn a blind eye during the occupation, explained Le Gallo, who is also producing the show at Le Gallo Films.
The protagonist, Henri, is inspired by the life of Gaston Baheux, known as “Tonton” (“Uncle”), owner of several cabarets including Liberty’s. During the war, the cabaret became a refuge for the resistance which led to Baheux’s arrest and imprisonment.
“Through this story, I want to question the role of artists during the occupation. This is a controversial subject that is rarely addressed in fiction, much less so in a series,” said Le Gallo.
The filmmaker pointed out that unlike in Berlin where cabarets shut down during WWII, they mostly flourished in Paris, where they were frequented by German soldiers seeking some entertainment.
“The discrepancy between the glamor of these festive places and the horror of the war is a strong dramatic axis – it is even the source of the moral failings of the series’ characters,” explained Le Gallo, who cited “Moulin Rouge” and “The Greatest Showman” as inspirations since both films are entertaining and based on true stories.
Music will play a large part in the show — Le Gallo envisions having an original score of hit pop songs translated into French and re-orchestrated with piano, accordion, violin and harp.
Faré said he’s looking to set the series as a European co-production, ideally with Germany and Spain. The producer will be working with Belgian partners for the post-production.
The producer said the show will have a “very ambitious” artistic style with numerous musical sequences, as well as “wildly colorful” set design and costumes.