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Antonio Banderas to Star in Studiocanal’s ‘The Monster of Florence’ From Nicolaj Arcel, Anders Thomas Jensen (EXCLUSIVE)

Antonio Banderas and Nikolaj Arcel
Courtesy of Studiocanal

Academy Award nominee Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”) is set to star in Studiocanal’s ”The Monster of Florence,” a six-hour limited series based on The New York Times bestseller “The Monster Of Florence: A True Story” by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi.

“The Monster of Florence” relates the extraordinary real life investigation carried out by American fiction writer Preston and Italian crime reporter Spezi into what Studiocanal describes as “one of the most riveting and notorious serial murder cases in European history. Banderas will play Spezi.

Denmark’s Nikolaj Arcel, Academy Award nominated for “A Royal Affair,” will direct from scripts written by Arcel and Anders Thomas Jensen, who penned the screenplay for Susanne Bier’s Oscar winner “In a Better World.” Arcel also co-wrote the original “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” starring Noomi Rapace. Banderas and Emanuel Nuñez will serve as executive producers.

Delivering an original twist to the true crime genre as he investigators become the subject of investigation by the Italian police, and Spezi is even accused of being the killer, “The Monster of Florence: A True Story” has sold over half a million copies and been published in 24 languages.

“The book is an absolute page turner; powerful, compelling, dangerous, and personal. You simply can’t believe this all happened to them. We can’t wait to begin production on the series in Florence and to be able to work with one of our favorite actors Antonio Banderas,” said Ron Halpern, Studiocanal executive VP of global production.

“In all the annals of world crime, the Monster of Florence case stands out as the most chilling and enigmatic,”  Preston added.

The series will narrate how Preston and Spezi identify the killer and, in a and the killer and even conduct what Preston describes as a “frightening interview” with him. The two are then, in Preston’s words, “sucked into a harrowing prosecutorial vendetta, our phones tapped, followed and menaced by the police, accused of participating in Satanic rites—which culminated in Mario arrested and charged with being the Monster of Florence himself.”

What happens if an entire country starts believing a destructive lie, fed to them by corrupt men in power’? That’s the big idea at the heart of ‘The Monster Of Florence,’ and I can’t imagine a better time to tell it,” Arcel commented.

The casting of one of Spain’s biggest Hollywood stars in a true crime drama based on infamous European IP – an Italian serial killer case which segued into scandal – marks another big recent swing by Studiocanal.

At MipTV, Studiocanal announced a robust raft of first sales on Canal Plus Création Originale “Paris Police 1900,” a high-end, crafted slice of 1899 Parisian Noir. It is handling most of worldwide distribution on the Sky/Canal Plus-backed “Django,” an English-language reimagining of Sergio Corbucci’s classic 1966 Western starring Matthias Schoenaerts, Noomi Rapace and Nicholas Pinnock. In May, Studiocanal announced that it is partnering on Starzplay’s first French co-production, the series “All Those Things We Never Said,” adapting a novel by Marc Levy, France’s most-read living author.

Studiocanal produces premium international series in-house, as well as via a network of award-winning subsidiary production companies, such as Germany’s Tandem Productions (“Shadowplay”), the U.K.’s RED Production Company (“Years and Years,” “It’s a Sin”) and Spain’s Bambu Producciones (“Instinto”). The company is also an associate of Danish-based SAM Productions (“Ride Upon The Storm”), Benedict Cumberbatch’s SunnyMarch TV (“Patrick Melrose”) and Urban Myth  (“War of the Worlds”).

Repped by Emanuel Nunez, Banderas will next be seen starring opposite Penelope Cruz in The Mediapro Studio’s “Official Competition.”