Actor Janet Montgomery (“This is Us”) and producer Tricia Small (“Salem”) have teamed with Blackbox Multimedia on a female-led period crime drama written by “Dracula” scribe Cole Haddon, Variety can reveal.
Billed as a female version of The Godfather trilogy, “Aqua Tofana” was co-created by Montgomery and Small, who will also executive produce the high-end television series, which is set is 17th-century Italy. Haddon is billed as co-creator and writer.
“Aqua Tofana” will follow Tofiana, Giulia and Girolama – three generations of women from the same family – accused of killing over 600 men with a “discreet and deadly” poison: Aqua Tofana.
“A recipe handed down from mother to daughter, generation to generation,” reads the logline. “Disguised as a cosmetic and discreetly sold to women looking to escape violent relationships and oppressive marriages, the business operated with tremendous success. But as the poison grew in popularity, its original intentions – to emancipate women – became corrupted by personal ambition and a desire to exact vengeance upon the system that made its use necessary to begin with.”
The series will explore the themes of power, patriarchy and female solidarity through the eyes of a criminal family, forcing viewers to examine the line between justice and vengeance.
“We stumbled across this true story while living together during Covid lockdown and, after digging deeper into it, our perception of women in history changed,” Montgomery said. “These women didn’t wait to be given power; they boldly took it. We were instantly entranced and knew we had to bring this unbelievable tale to the screen for a modern audience. We’re thrilled to join forces with Cole and BlackBox on this exciting endeavour.”
Giuliano Papadia, CEO and creative director at BlackBox Multimedia said: “The original legend of Aqua Tofana really is stranger than fiction and when we first spoke to Tricia and Janet about the idea, we realized that it combined our favourite ingredients here at BlackBox: an epic tale told through an intimate lens. And what could be better than also having the unique voice of Cole Haddon on board to tell it. With a fantastic creative team of onscreen and offscreen talent, Aqua Tofana has all the makings of a classic series and we can’t wait to introduce audiences to this criminal empire.”
Haddon added: “I have long hoped to write a crime epic. I just couldn’t find a story that felt not only original and exciting, but also necessary. When I was pitched ‘Aqua Tofana,’ I immediately recognized it as everything I was searching for. These three generations of women engaged in a deadly – and immensely lucrative – war with a power structure that told them they had no value beyond bearing children. It’s horrifying how much of their story is still relevant today. I’m ecstatic to be collaborating with Janet and Tricia and my good friends at BlackBox on this remarkable story.”