MIPTV: 'Transporter' Series Reboot for TNT Heavy on Action
UPDATED: After a troubled season one shoot, the small-screen adaptation of the hit action movie franchise returns for a 12-episode second season on TNT.
The Transporter is back, and he's bad -- in a good way.
Atlantique Productions, the French production company behind the high-profile action series based on the Luc Besson action film franchise of the same name, screened premiere footage of season two of Transporter for the press at international TV market MIPTV on Tuesday. Judging by the footage, new showrunner Frank Spotnitz (X-Files, Hunted) has pumped up the action as well as the exotic locales for season two.
Chris Vance (Rizzoli & Isles) returns in the iconic role of professional transporter Frank Martin (made famous by Jason Statham in the Transporter films), joined in season two by Italian actress Violante Placido in the newly created role of Caterina Boldieu, a former French intelligence officer who works for Frank as a strategist and risk assessor on the jobs he takes on.
Repped by APA and the Lasher Group, Placido's credits include Anton Corbijn’s George Clooney-starrer The American and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. In Italy she was nominated for a David di Donatello best actress award for Gianni Veronesi’s Che Ne Sarà Di Noi? in 2004.
The debut season of Transporter stalled in its international rollout. While the show sold to some 185 territories and delivered strong ratings in France and other territories, it failed to find a U.S. broadcast home. HBO sister channel Cinemax was originally on board but pulled out after major production problems and delays. TNT recently came in to pick up the show's 12-episode first season and to order a 12-episode second season, which it plans to air this fall.
Atlantique, which is producing the show with Canada's QVF Inc., said shows for the new season will have a slightly smaller budget than season one -- around $3 million per episode -- but said it's gotten more bang for its buck by shooting in Morocco and the Czech Republic as well as in Toronto, where the bulk of the first season of Transporter was shot. “They have definitely been very smart in how they produced this show,” Spotnitz said.
France's M6 and the Movie Network & Movie Central in Canada are commissioning partners for Transporter. German network RTL, which backed season one, is not on board for season two of the show.
But many of the networks that aired the first season have re-upped for the second, including Italy's Mediaset, HBO in Latin America and Fox International Channels for multiple territories, including Australia. A handful of key territories, including the U.K., remain unsold.