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Makers of ‘Versailles’ Develop Fantasy Thriller ‘Dolce Vita,’ Spy Drama ‘Thanksgiving’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 7/3/2017 Elsa Keslassy
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PARIS – Capa Drama, the French production company behind costume drama “Versailles” and International Emmy-winning series “Braquo,” is developing “Dolce Vita,” a fantasy thriller set in 1950s and ’60s Italy, and “Thanksgiving,” a spy drama about a suspicion-laden marriage.

“Dolce Vita” was created and is currently being written by Yves Ramonet and Dino Gentili. Arnaud Figaret (“After I’m Gone”) and Aude Albano (“Versailles”) are producing at Capa Drama, which is owned by Newen and headed by Claude Chelli.

Set in Rome, the series will depict an imaginary war between the Vatican and a powerful clan of vampires that has been raging for centuries. “Dolce Vita” follows a character propelled into the midst of the war while a string of religious crimes shakes modern Italy’s Golden Age.

The 10-episode series will have an estimated budget in the 30-million-euro ($34-million) range, on a par with Simon Mirren and David Wolstencroft’s “Versailles” (pictured), France’s most expensive drama series. Capa Drama is currently in negotiations with Italian and U.S. partners, as well as a French channel.

Figaret said he was lured by the prospect of “creating a thriller series with fantasy and horror elements – a genre that’s seldom explored in French drama – and give it an iconic backdrop by setting it during this festive, colorful chapter in Italy’s history.”

The producer cited Showtime drama “Penny Dreadful,” set in Victorian London, as an inspiration, but said “Dolce Vita” would have a different tone and bend more toward fantasy than horror.

Albano said the series would have an international cast.”During this era, Rome was a highly cosmopolitan place attracting people from all over the world. They would come to achieve their dreams and to celebrate life in Rome. So we could have Italian, French, British, American actors in the show,” explained Albano.

Capa Drama is currently developing and producing a raft of series that have been commissioned for Arte, TF1, M6 and France Televisions. Its slate includes “Thanksgiving,” a spy drama centering on the marriage between a Frenchman and American woman who are keeping secrets from each other. The three-part series was created by Nicolas Saada, the writer of “Sleepless Night” and director of “Taj Mahal.”

“Rather than a basic spy thriller, ‘Thanksgiving’ follows the trajectory of a married couple and the mutual distrust that gradually cripples them,” Chelli said.

The miniseries was written by Saada and Anne-Louise Trividic (“The Monk”) and will start shooting in November. Casting is underway.

Capa TV is currently shooting Season 3 of “Versailles” on location in Paris. Ovation TV pre-bought U.S. premiere rights to Seasons 2 and 3 after acquiring Season 1. Comissioned by Canal Plus and sold by Zodiak Rights, “Versailles” was also acquired by Netflix for second-window U.S. streaming rights.

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