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Bruce Beresford to Direct 'The Inquisition' for Tricon Films

Bruce Beresford Headshot AFI Awards - P 2011
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI

The Oscar-nominated director is attached to the 10-part mini-series set in 15th century Spain and structured as an international co-production.

TORONTO - Oscar-nominated director Bruce Beresford is to direct the 10-part mini-series The Inquisition for Tricon Films & Television and Spanish producing partner TOAC.

The lush and luscious series about the 15th century Spanish Inquisition is the first project from film and TV producer Lewin Webb (Casino Jack) after he launched a new scripted division at Tricon, a Canadian factual TV producer and distributor.

STORY: Bruce Beresford to Direct Frank Lloyd Wright Biopic 'Taliesin'

The Inquisition was created and written by Mark Schwartz (Voyage of the Heart), and developed by Webb in partnership with Media Packer’s Victor Rodriguez, a veteran Canadian distribution executive, and Spanish producing partner Secundino Velasco of TOAC.

Beresford, also attached to direct the upcoming Sony Pictures TV Bonnie & Clyde project, is best known for his Oscar-winning film Driving Miss Daisy, Breaker Morant and the HBO TV Movie And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself, which starred Antonio Banderas as the Mexican revolutionary.

“I took a flyer, and I approached Mr Beresford through his management and agent, and, as always with material, he reacted very positively,” Webb recalled when first approaching the Australian director in fall 2012.

Webb has been working with European broadcasters to structure The Inquisition as an international co-production.

Despite Spain’s growing economic problems, Webb insisted broadcasters and funding sources in that country are committed to the project, not least to get a major historical period for Spain in front of a global TV audience.

With Beresford on board, Webb will be pitching the mini-series in Los Angeles starting this week to possibly land North American broadcasters and financing.

Schwartz has The Inquisition follow the life of Diego Altas, the royal court doctor to Queen Isabella of Aragon. 

Born Benjamin Levi, Altas is a converted Jew, forced to denounce his heritage. At the same time, Altas uses his powerful position to resist the destructive forces of the Inquisition as he tries to save the last vestiges of religious co-existence between the Moors, Christians and Jews.

The clash of court and papacy in 15th century Spain is also ripe for the personal and powerful intrigue, sex and violence that’s typical of today’s global dramas and mini-series.

“The show is very much in direction and design has one foot in the world of The Tudors, another in The Borgias and another in The Game of Thrones,” Webb insisted.

Producer credits on The Inquisition, which is scheduled to be shot in Spain in late 2013, go to Webb, Velasco and Rodriguez.

Schwartz and Beresford will executive produce along with Andrea Gorfolova, president of Tricon Films & Television, which will distribute The Inquisition internationally.