ViacomCBS International Studios (VIS) and Italy’s expanding Minerva Pictures have teamed up on “Miss Fallaci Takes America,” a high-profile TV series about the 1958 journey to the U.S. of iconic Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci.
The show, which is the first Italian original produced for Paramount Plus, will portray Fallaci’s early years in Hollywood before she became a legendary war correspondent known for her explosive personality. It is set to be the first Paramount Plus Original destined for the ViacomCBS-owned premium streaming service, following its Italian launch in 2022.
“What we loved the most was the fact that the story we are going to tell is based on Oriana’s early years, which are probably the least known in her career,” said VIS senior vice president Laura Abril, who is head of VIS EMEA and Asia, speaking at Rome’s MIA Market. “And how her charm as a stranger in Hollywood made her what she later became as a war correspondent,” Abril added.
Fallaci “was very particular and unique,” Abril went on to note, “because she wasn’t the typical movie star fan that was interviewing them. She had a disenchanted gaze of the Hollywood scene” and “wanted to have a very ironic and irreverent tone.”
The series will be based on true events recounted by Fallaci in her first books “The Seven Sins of Hollywood,” “Voyage to America,” “Penelope at War” and “The Useless Sex,” published by Rizzoli.
“We are happy to invest in Italian content, especially for our premium service Paramount Plus which will be available in Italy in 2022,” said Jaime Ondarza, executive vice president and general manager South Hub, ViacomCBS EMEEA.
The “Miss Fallaci Takes America” project, which won the VIS prize at MIA last year, is the brainchild of young Italian writer/director Alessandra Gonnella, whose short “A Cup of Coffee With Marilyn,” which served as a promo of sorts for the series, won Italy’s prestigious Silver Ribbon prize.
Rising Italian star Miriam Leone (“1994,” “Medici”), who starred in the short, is in advanced talks to star in the title role also in the TV series. But the deal is not closed yet.
“Fallaci Takes America” is being produced by VIS and Minerva Pictures in collaboration with Italy’s RedString.
Minerva is the expanding film production and distribution company headed by Gianluca Curti, which has been expanding since 2019 when Santo Versace, who is the older brother of Gianni and Donatella Versace, decided to invest in the company with a €6 million ($6.9 million) capital increase, becoming Minerva’s chairman of the board.
“This is the first TV series that we are producing directly and we are particularly pleased to be doing this together with ViacomCBS International Studios, an international partner that focuses on quality of the product with whom both Santo Versace and I feel in great creative harmony,” Curti, who is Minerva CEO, said.
Cosetta Lagani, a former Sky Italia executive who now heads the new scripted and documentary productions unit at Minerva, noted that “Miss Fallaci Takes America” “fits perfectly with our mission: the creation of very high-quality projects, with a strong identity that are relevant for the international market.”