European pay-TV platform Sky will unveil an Italian adaptation of French hit series “Call My Agent,” and thriller series “Europa,” directed by German filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel, who helmed the Oscar-nominated “Downfall,” at an event Friday at the Rome MIA Market.
The Italian “Call My Agent” remake is being produced by Palomar, the Rome-based company controlled by France’s Mediawan, which originated the hit show set at a Parisian talent agency (pictured).
“Whereas ‘Call My Agent’ is quintessentially Parisian, this will be quintessentially the [Rome-based] world of Italian cinema,” Nils Hartmann, senior director of Sky Italia original productions, told Variety. “It’s a great homage to Italian cinema and the country’s star system,” he added.
Lisa Nur Sultan, who penned the successful Italian version of “Liar,” is the head writer, while Luca Ribuoli (“The Mafia Only Kills in Summer”) will direct, with plans to start shooting in 2022, and a planned playdate also next year.
Elsewhere, in the Sky Original series “Europa,” a boat full of immigrants intersects in open sea with a luxury cruise ship and the topical theme of immigration takes a thriller twist.
“Europa” is based on a book titled “Bilal” by Italian investigative journalist Fabrizio Gatti. The eight-episode series draws inspiration from events experienced and narrated by Gatti, who went undercover, infiltrated the ruthless, cruel underworld of economic immigration to Europe, and recounted his hellish journey amid the illegal trafficking of 28 African migrants.
After rights to the book were taken by Germany’s Pantaleon Films, ace Italian writer Stefano Bises (“Gomorrah,” “Zero, Zero, Zero”) came on board and germinated the idea of having a luxury cruise ship intercept and rescue a boat of immigrants that had caught on fire as a narrative device, “so that the theme of immigration can be depicted in a way that has a genre element,” Hartmann said.
“The immigrants discover that the cruise ship is traveling toward Tunisia and Libya and this is where the story becomes a thriller,” he added.
The “Europa” story takes place on the cruise ship full of Western tourists. After having intercepted and rescued the illegal immigrants, the stories of the crew and guests of the luxury liner are intertwined with those of the migrants when the latter — having discovered that the ship is moving toward Africa, from which they departed — decide to occupy the boat and take all its crew hostage.
The show will tell the stories of its protagonists through two timelines. One in the present that sees them on the cruise ship and one in the past, which tells the story of each of them through flashbacks.
The plan is to start in November on what is expected to be a 20-week shoot. The cast is being kept under wraps. Sky is aiming for a 2023 playdate for the show, which is set to play across its pay-TV services in Italy, the U.K. and Germany.
“Europa” is being produced by Sky Studios with Pantaleon Films and Italy’s Indiana Productions. NBCUniversal will distribute it in the rest of the world.