Advanced Television

Netflix unveils Marseille drama commission

August 28, 2014

By Colin Mann

Following’s reports June 22nd and August 27th of Netflix’s intentions to produce drama in France to tie in with its September launch there, the Internet entertainment streaming service has revealed details of its first such commission. The production reflects CEO Reed Hastings comments in June that it could be a local version of House of Cards: House of Versailles. “That’s not literally the kind of thing that would be. But something like that, where it’s a big French production but it’s not just for France, it’s for the whole world,” he stated.

Marseille, an eight episode tale of power, corruption and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the French port city, will debut exclusively in all Netflix territories in late 2015.

The production focuses on the story of Robert Taro, mayor of the city for 25 years. The coming elections have him face the man he chose as his heir, an ambitious youngster aiming high. Both candidates will fight mercilessly. Marseille stages a fight around revenge, animated by drug lords, politicians, unions and the political players of the city.

Marseille is produced by Paris-based Federation Entertainment, led by Pascal Breton, producer of the hit French series Dolmen and Sous le Soleil.

Shot entirely in France, Marseille is created and written by Dan Franck, writer of La Séparation and Les Hommes de l’ombre and co-writer of Carlos, which won a Golden Globe for best miniseries and a César for most promising actor, Edgar Ramirez, and was nominated for 36 international awards, including two Emmys.

“Creating a series for an enormous audience and without any constraints will let us push to its limits a story about the Shakespearean theatre of politics in a city where Alexandre Dumas and Jean-Claude Izzo, among others, have planted many spears,” said Franck. Netflix has given us a blank page to create a House of Cards in French that breaks through unspoken hypocrisy. This is a writer’s dream and a great opportunity for French producers and creators to enter a new world.”

Sundance Award-winning filmmaker Samuel Benchetrit, who will direct selected episodes said that working with Netflix was a great opportunity for artists and creators. “It democratises movies and series in France and globally.”

Producer Pascal Breton said that Netflix was giving the perfect opportunity to tell this story from a uniquely French viewpoint, in association with some of France’s best writers and directors. “Produced entirely in France, Marseille has the potential to become one of the most gripping television events of the coming years,” he declared.

Production is expected to start in spring of 2015 with the series débuting everywhere Netflix is available in late 2015.

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