Netflix Orders Its First French Original Series, Marseille

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“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 first French production from Netflix, “Marseille” 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.

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

Directing the first two episodes of “Marseille” will be Florent-Emilio Siri, director of the Cesar-nominated thea trical hits Cloclo and L’Ennemi Intime. Also directing will be Sundance Award-winning filmmaker Samuel Benchetrit (J’ai toujours reve d’etre un gangster)

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

“Creating a series for an enormous audience and without any constraints will let us push to its limits a story about the Shakespearean theater of politics in a city where Alexandre Dumas and Jean-Claude Izzo , among others, have planted many spears,” said Dan 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.”

“Movies today sacrifice a lot to almighty pacing and often lose the essential: the characters. Current TV series do exactly the opposite, they stretch time and work characters in depth with all their complexities and contradictions. That’s what makes for their success,” said Florent-Emilio Siri. “The movie business in France today confines itself to comedy or what is called ‘author cinema.’ TV series give movie directors the potential of a new opportunity to be able to explore and express their talents within the full extent of their art. This is why I’m really eager to work on Marseille.”

Added Samuel Benchetrit : “I’m incredibly excited and honored to work on Marseille and to create an original series that will be powerful and unique. Working with Netflix is a great opportunity for artists and creators, it democratizes movies and series in France and globally.”

Producer Pascal Breton said: “Marseille will take the audience right into the political arena where the old regime of traditional politicians are getting ready to face the younger generation of predators, thugs, and sometimes their own heirs. Netflix is giving us 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.”

“Marseille is an ambitious, diabolically smart fictitious exploration of local politics in one of the world’s most vibrant and fascinating cities,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “We are delighted to be working with some of the best storytellers in France to deliver a series that erases the line between film and television.”

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

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