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Spain’s Boomerang, Argentina’s Underground Link for ‘El Extranjero’

Variety logo Variety 6/22/2017 John Hopewell

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain — Spain’s Boomerang TV Group and Argentina’s Underground Producciones, two of the most active TV fiction production houses on the Spanish-language TV scene, have inked to co-produce “El Extranjero,” a TV series adding new elements to the Nordic Noir mix.

The deal was sealed and unveiled at Conecta Fiction, the new Latin American TV co-production forum which runs June 20-23 in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, northwest Spain.

Announced Thursday, the co-production takes Nordic Noir beats – there’s a murder in a far-flung location, and person from outside the local community who attempts to solve the crime discovering a world of social malaise.

But these elements are blended with others in a push for originality – essential for any series to encounter further financing and market in a hugely competitive quality series sector.

“North by North West” meets Rafa Nadal, “El Extranjero” turns on a world-famous Spanish tennis player, Josep Bonet, who arrives in Buenos Aires for a big match, after which he meets a dazzling young woman, Lucia Frey,  a lawyer, famed social justice blogger and daughter of one of Argentina’s most important judges.

They party, spend the night together. When Bonet wakes up the next day, Lucía is lying by his side, dead, murdered. Fleeing from the police and press and public, who sense a scandal of O.J. Simpson proportions, Bonet, while on the run, has to prove his innocence.

“We are confident that ‘El extranjero,’ emerging from the alliance of Underground and Boomerang, will surprise the international market,” said Carolina Gonzalez, Underground Producciones’ new projects director.

One element added to the mix will be “adventure, in the purest ‘Fugitive’ style,” added Josep Clister, executive director of Boomerang TV Fiction.

We want to talk about contemporary society and in part about femicides in Argentina. The series begins with a woman’s murder. She might belong to Argentina’s elite but the media tears into her, blaming her for her murder,” said Maria Fernandez, head of fiction business development who has written “El Extranjero’s” first episode.

“El extranjero” marks Boomerang TV’s first drama co-production with Latin America after French media conglom Lagardere acquired an 82% in Boomerang in May 2016.

It also comes after the market for Spanish-language TV programming has consolidated with the availability on Netflix of key fiction hits such as “The Time in Between” (“El Tiempo Entre Costuras”) and “Velvet,” Clister argued.

“El extranjero” will also allow Underground to enroll its hallmark skills to re-create a near surreal, immersive and criminal social reality, seen in “EL Marginal,” and new series “The Cockfighter,” world premiered at Conecta Fiction, a Buenos Aires mean streets crime thriller sets in a dirt poor district of Buenos Ares.

ENDS

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