Sky has announced a new Sky Original series, Domina, which will bring to life the power struggles of Ancient Rome from a different perspective, that of the women.
Produced by Fifty Fathoms (Fortitude) and Sky Studios, with Cattleya as executive production services, the epic ten-part drama is a highly topical story, which follows the life and the extraordinary rise of Livia Drusilla, who overcame adversity to become the most powerful woman in the world. Filming started this week at Cinecittà Studios in Rome.
The series features Kasia Smutniak (Perfect Strangers, Them, Devils) playing Livia Drusilla supported by an international stellar cast including Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) playing Livius, Livia’s father, and Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet, Death Becomes Her) playing Balbina, an early enemy. Alongside them star Matthew McNulty (Misfits) as the future emperor Gaius, Christine Bottomley (The End of the F***ing World) as Scribonia, Colette Tchantcho (The Witcher) as Antigone, Ben Batt (Captain America: The First Avenger) as Agrippa, Enzo Cilenti (Free Fire) as Tiberius Claudius Nero, while Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black) plays Claudia Octavia.
The story follows Livia’s journey from a naïve young girl whose world crumbles in the wake of Julius Caesar’s assassination, to Rome’s most powerful and influential Empress, driven by a deep desire to avenge her father and secure power for her sons. Livia and her peers navigate their way through a brutal society by means of strategy, conspiracy, seduction and murder. This is a visceral and authentic family saga, grounded in historical accuracy and bringing to life the incredible true stories of the women who would create one of the most enduring and fascinating dynasties of all time.
Created and written by Simon Burke (Zen, Fortitude), the lead director is the acclaimed Australian filmmaker Claire McCarthy (Ophelia, The Luminaries).
The crew includes top Italian professionals: costumes will be designed by the Academy Award winning Gabriella Pescucci (The Age Of Innocence, Once Upon A Time in America), production design by Luca Tranchino (Prison Break), make up by Katia Sisto (Penny Dreadful) and hair design by Claudia Catini (Trust).
Kasia Smutniak said: “I am thrilled to be playing such a complex character as Livia Drusilla. As a frontrunner in defending women’s rights, she was a tough woman who was both feared and cherished and was strong enough to seal the fate of the Roman Empire”.
Nicola Maccanico, Executive Vice President Programming Sky Italia, said: “Domina is an international production and we are very proud of its strong Italian roots. It is a great epic drama that brings to life ancient Rome again, but from a different perspective, that of the women, and reshapes our view of them. They are the masters of their fate and fiercely pursue their ambitions and ultimately the conquest of power. With Domina, Sky Studios will once again bring together major international artistic values and top Italian talents.”
Patrick Spence, Managing Director Fifty Fathoms, said, “Simon’s scripts offer a unique opportunity to see Ancient Rome as it has never been shown before. Authentic, messy, visceral, and with the agenda driven quietly, but ruthlessly by the women.”
Claire McCarthy, Domina lead director, said: “This period of Roman history is truth being stranger than fiction. I’m tremendously excited to bring this rich and visceral world to life with this incredible troupe of stellar actors and the gifted creative team. What an honour to be working out of Cinecittà studios too where so many of the greats have built cinema history.”
Domina is a Sky Original series produced by Fifty Fathoms and Sky Studios, with Cattleya as executive production services. The series is executive produced by Patrick Spence, Marcus Wilson, Faye Dorn, Simon Burke and Claire McCarthy and produced by John Phillips.
The series will air exclusively in all Sky territories, in Italy, UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain. NBCUniversal Global Distribution holds international rights in the rest of the world on behalf of Sky Studios.
DOMINA is the latest in a string of recent commissions as Sky continues to invest in original content. Sky has recently committed to more than double its investment in original drama, comedy and documentary through Sky Studios, the commissioning and production arm of Sky. Sky Studios brings to screen unique stories from the very best talent in Europe and is the creative home of Sky’s award-winning and much-loved Sky originals.
Among the Sky Originals coming soon on Sky: The New Pope, the new series created and directed by Oscar® winner Paolo Sorrentino with the two-time Oscar® nominees Jude Law and John Malkovich; ZeroZeroZero, directed by Stefano Sollima and based on Roberto Saviano’s book, featuring Andrea Riseborough, Dane DeHaan and Gabriel Byrne; Devils, starring Alessandro Borghi and Patrick Dempsey. 2019 has been a record year for Sky Original’s series thanks to the 10 Emmy Awards picked up by Chernobyl and the new seasons of the most loved series, like Gomorrah and 1994, alongside the new productions including Catherine the Great.