Sky Italia has ordered prison drama Il Re (The King), which will star Italian actor Luca Zingaretti, well known locally for the Inspector Montalbano series.
The Italian-language series will be set in the prison of San Michele where Bruno Testori (Zingaretti), the director, applies his own personal idea of justice. While outside the prison his life is far from ordered, inside he is the absolute ruler. But when his kingdom unexpectedly comes under threat, Testori finds himself fighting the most difficult war of his life.
Producing will be Lorenzo Mieli and his new banner The Apartment, together with local production power and sister company Wildside, both of which are part of the Fremantle group. Wildside, of which Mieli was a co-founder, has produced shows including We Are Who We Are, The New Pope and My Brilliant Friend.
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The eight-episode series will be directed by Giuseppe Gagliardi (1992) from a screenplay by Stefano Bises, Peppe Fiore, Bernardo Pellegrini, and Davide Serino.
Filming is set to begin at the end of this year or early 2021 in Rome, Turin, and Trieste. Fremantle is handling international sales.
Zingaretti said: “Bruno Testori is a sullen, majestic, perverse, and controversial character, a king. Playing him is a challenge that I immediately accepted and which I find enthralling, seeing how he continues to develop page after page.”
Lorenzo Mieli, CEO of The Apartment, commented: “Bringing to life a new series and a new character is always important. Doing it with Luca Zingaretti as the protagonist is a truly significant step in the landscape of Italian TV series. It took years of working with Luca and the writers to finally get to where we are today, to The King. And now we are so happy to be bringing to life the first Italian prison drama and its protagonist: the controversial director of a prison where none of the country’s laws have any value, because good and bad depend on his judgement. A man who is seemingly strong, but who is actually possessed by an onerous dark side. The King is a challenge and, like all good series and original characters, its objective is to astonish and shock its audience.”