Miguel Herrán, who plays Aníbal “Río” Cortés in “Money Heist” and Christian Varela in “Elite,” will star with “Below Zero” lead Javier Gutiérrez in “Modelo 77,” produced by Movistar Plus and Madrid-based Atípica Films.
The feature film will be released in Spanish cinema theaters by Buena Vista Intl. before screening in exclusivity on Movistar Plus.
Directed by Alberto Rodríguez and written by Rafael Cobos and Rodríguez, the creative powerhouses behind Movistar Plus banner series “The Plague,” the movie sees Movistar Plus maintaining in a movie a key talent relationship forged by a drama series. As competition for top talent becomes the key battleground between pay TV operators and platforms the world over, that looks like a crucial coup.
Set to go into production on Aug. 2, “Modelo 77” also begs the question as to whether Movistar Plus, one of Spain’s key drama series investors, will now be driving into movie production in Spain with some of the same vigor, scale and ambition as it has in drama series, and what kind of IP share that could give to producers.
“Modelo 77” looks to be structured as a co-production with a top independent producer, Atípica Films, headed by José Antonio Félez, Rodríguez’s career-long producer.
Described by Movistar Plus as an ambitious production, which will reach through to October, “Modelo 77” bring the same probing historical analysis of the driver and impediments to historical change which Rodríguez and Cobos brought to “The Plague” and “Marshland,” winner of 10 Spanish Academy Goyas in 2014.
Herrán plays a young accountant who is sent to Barcelona’s legendary Modelo penitentiary pending trial for embezzlement in 1977, facing 10-20 years in jail, a prison sentence disproportionate to his crime. There he joins a group of inmates battling to achieve an amnesty for past crimes.
“Above all, the convicts fought to be united in a hostile repressive world, where social justice or simply the most basic of human rights shone by their absence,” said Rodríguez.
“Prisons are a reflection of a country. How it treats people who go to jail, and why they’re there, talks about its present and its future,” added Cobos.
He went on: “In 1977, Spain experienced one of the greatest moments of freedom in its history. But the transition to democracy, that idyllic space between shadows and hope, had decided to pass Spanish prisons by. That has to be told.”