April 23, 2014 9:53am PT by Michael O'Connell, John Hecht
Netflix Orders First Spanish-Language Original
Netflix is looking to expand its reach.
On the same morning that rival Amazon unveiled a pact with another rival, HBO, the streaming service announced it would launch its first-ever Spanish-language original series. Netflix has ordered 13 episodes of an untitled comedy from director Gaz Alazraki starring Luis Gerardo Mendez. The project marks a reunion for the duo, who both worked on Mexican box-office smash Nosotros los Nobles.
"We formed a very special team for We Are the Nobles, and we all knew we wanted to keep working together," said Alazraki. "When I told the team that Netflix was interested in producing the show, the excitement was contagious since there's nobody cooler and more innovative in this day and age than Netflix."
Dubbed a satirical effort, from creator Mike Lam and Alazraki Entertainment, the series focuses on feuding heirs of a soccer club after the owner dies. The entire first season will launch in 2015, with shooting set for Mexico.
Alazraki Entertainment, a new production company formed by Alazraki and former Warner Bros. Mexico production head Leonardo Zimbron, was also behind Nosotros los Nobles. The company's feature debut raked in $27 million at the box office, making it Mexico's second-highest-grossing film of all time. The film's focus on Mexico's social-class divide made it a huge cultural phenomenon.
"We're thrilled to be working with the talent from We Are the Nobles, a movie that managed to capture a cultural phenomenon in a fun and engaging way, while also breaking box-office records," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. "Gaz has the disruptive vision and creative storytelling we were looking for in producing our first original series in Mexico. We're confident our members in a market as important to us as Mexico and Latin America will love this family comedy."
This is not Netflix's first effort in Latin America. The streamer recently committed to a 10-episode order of Narcos, a drama based on Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel. From Brazilian director José Padilha, the series will shoot in Colombia.