An awaited English-language reimagining of Sergio Corbucci’s classic 1966 Western, a favorite of Quentin Tarantino, major European series “Django” has released first-look images as its six-month shoot continues in Romania.
Studiocanal, which has worldwide distribution rights, has also drilled down on key creative talent, announcing Friday that David Evans (“Downton Abbey”) and Enrico Maria Artale (“Romulus”) are joining Francesca Comencini (“Gomorrah The Series”) in the directors’ team, with Comencini helming first episodes.
First look images show Matthias Schoenaerts – who has sparked consistently strong notices for his performances in “The Danish Girl,” “The Mustang,” “Bullhead” and “Rust and Bone” – as the eponymous Django.
Famed for “Prometheus” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Noomi Rapace, seen mounted on a horse, plays Elizabeth who is described as a “powerful and merciless enemy” of John Ellis (Nicholas Pinnock), caught in a Wild West bar, who founds with fiancee Sarah (Lisa Vicari, “Dark”) New Babylon, a city of outcasts which welcomes everyone, from any background, race or creed.
The new series sees Django, who has been desperately searching for Sarah, his daughter, finally locate her in New Babylon after the rest of his family was slaughtered eight years earlier. But her welcome is guarded: Django insists he must stay, arguing the city is in danger, sparking Ellis’ hostility. Sarah fears, however, that his very presence in itself puts New Babylon in jeopardy, and argues, like Ellis, that he should leave.
Filming in Racos, Bucharest and the Danube area with the support of the Romanian government, “Django” is one of the biggest high-end European series of 2021, weighing in at 10 one hours. A Canal Plus Création Originale and Sky Original TV series, it also involves many of Europe’s most powerful players, being produced for Sky Studios and Canal Plus by leading French production company Atlantique Productions (“Midnight Sun,” “The Eddy”), part of Mediawan, and top Italian producer Cattleya (“ZeroZeroZero,” “Gomorrah the Series”), part of ITV Studios. Sky Studios and Canal Plus co-producer. The series is made in collaboration with Leonine’s Odeon Fiction and Studiocanal.
The images suggest hint at the large distance separating the series and Corbucci’s original which moved waves for the brutality and sadism of its violence, as well as its select realism, seen in its mud-bath local high street shot in gray and sepia.
Set again in the Wild West of the 1860s and 1870s, the current series looks slightly more decorous, at least in the state of major characters’ clothing. In marked contrast to Corbucci’s Western, the series also features strong female characters, led by Rapace’s Elizabeth.
The series alos delivers a reappraisal of masculinity in the Western in a “contemporary and psychological” take on the genre, Studiocanal said in April. “‘Django’ promises “an engaging narrative and an accurate representation of the period,” it added on Friday.
“‘Django’ was created and written by Leonardo Fasoli (“Gomorrah the Series,” “ZeroZeroZero”) and Maddalena Ravagli (“Gomorrah the Series,” “ZeroZeroZero”), who, together, also co-wrote the series treatment with Francesco Cenni and Michele Pellegrini, with two episodes written by Max Hurwitz (“ZeroZeroZero,” “Manhunt”).