Beta Film has come on board to co-produce eight-part Italian period drama series “La Storia,” based on Elsa Morante’s bestselling novel, continuing its successful partnership with Picomedia. Shooting for the production has started in Rome under the helm of director Francesca Archibugi (“Romanzo famigliare”), before moving to Naples and Lazio later in the year. Beta handles world sales.
The cast is led by Jasmine Trinca (“The Gunman”), starring as Ida, a single mother of two sons, who hides her Jewish heritage and fights against poverty and persecution during the end of World War II and post-war Rome. Also starring are Asia Argento (“xXx – Triple X”), Elio Germano (“Leopardi”) and Valerio Mastandrea (“Perfect Strangers”).
The series adapts one of the most critically acclaimed novels of the 20th century, published in two dozen languages. Morante is a landmark figure of feminist literature and the literary role model of Italian star author Elena Ferrante, who stated in the New York Times in 2014: “I try to learn from her books, but I find them unsurpassable,” calling her a “bewitching example.”
Archibugi also serves as writer alongside Francesco Piccolo (“My Brilliant Friend”) as well as Giulia Calenda and Ilaria Macchia (both “Petra – Death Rites”). Primetime Emmy-nominated Luca Bigazzi (“The Great Beauty,” “Il Divo”) will serve as DOP; the set designer is Ludovica Ferrario (“The Young Pope”); and Catherine Buyse Dian (“The New Pope,” “Spider-Man – Far From Home”) and Valentina Monticelli are responsible for costume design.
Archibugi said: “Adapting Elsa Morante’s ‘La Storia’ into a series is an endless joy and an immense responsibility. It is one of the great masterpieces of the 20th century. The book that opened my eyes to what it should mean to tell a story.”
Roberto Sessa, producer for Picomedia, said: “I want to thank Elsa Morante’s heirs for believing in us and our project. Francesca Archibugi has brought together a fantastic cast to adapt this extraordinary story for the screen. “
Maria Pia Ammirati, head of drama at Rai, said: “It was a simple decision to partner with Picomedia, Thalie Images and Beta for the production of a series based on Elsa Morante’s ‘La Storia.’ It is one of those novels that, while restoring atmosphere and spirit of an historical period – in this case World War II and the years following it – captures the tragedy of a human condition and delivers unforgettable characters and situations to literature and society.
“This density of content can only coincide with the values of fiction from a public broadcaster, and is a promising basis for the start of a major production that, beginning with the direction by Francesca Archibugi and the performance of Jasmine Trinca, brings together professionalism and talent at the highest level of Italian audiovisual quality.”
Ferdinand Dohna, exec VP content, Beta, said: “Beta is proud and happy to join forces again with Rai Fiction and Roberto Sessa’s Picomedia, to bring a fresh adaptation led by A-list Italian talent of one of the most important European novels of the 20th century to a worldwide audience.“
“La Storia” is produced by Picomedia (Sessa) and Thalie Images (Stéphane Moatti), in collaboration with Rai Fiction (Maria Pia Ammirati, Francesco Nardella, Francesca Tura, Daria Hensemberger), and in co-production with Beta (Koby Gal-Raday, Dohna).
Beta and Picomedia share a long-time partnership. Their YA series “The Sea Beyond,” coproduced with Rai Fiction, recently celebrated huge ratings successes, being ranked in the top three on Netflix in Italy after gathering over 55 million views on pubcaster RAI’s streaming service RaiPlay and great linear ratings on Rai2.