Netflix Orders First French Original Series

9:54 PM PST 08/27/2014 by Lacey Rose
Netflix's Ted Sarandos

'Marseille' will launch with eight episodes in all Netflix territories in late 2015.

Netflix's international push continues.

The streaming network has ordered its first original French production, appropriately titled Marseille. The project, which garnered an eight-episode straight-to-series order, is being billed as a tale of power, corruption and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the French port city. If all goes as planned, the drama will debut exclusively in all Netflix territories in late 2015.

The series, which is being shot entirely in France, will center on Robert Taro, mayor of the city for 25 years, who in the coming elections will face the man he chose as his heir. Both candidates will fight mercilessly.

"Netflix has given us a blank page to create a House of Cards in French that breaks through unspoken hypocrisy. This is a writer's dream and a great opportunity for French producers and creators to enter a new world," said creator Dan Franck of the opportunity.

Added Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who is actively looking to expand Netflix's global footprint: "Marseille is an ambitious, diabolically smart, fictitious exploration of local politics in one of the world’s most vibrant and fascinating cities. We are delighted to be working with some of the best storytellers in France to deliver a series that erases the line between film and television.”

The Federation Entertainment-produced drama will be written by Franck, whose previous credits include La Séparation, Les Hommes de l’ombre and Golden Globe winner Carlos. Both Florent-Emilio Siri (Cloclo, L’Ennemi Intime) and Samuel Benchetrit (J'ai toujours rêvé d'être un gangster) have been tapped to direct.

"Creating a series for an enormous audience and without any constraints will let us push to its limits a story about the Shakespearean theater of politics in a city where Alexandre Dumas and Jean-Claude Izzo, among others, have planted many spears," noted Franck, with Siri, who will direct the first two episodes, adding: "The movie business in France today confines itself to comedy or what is called 'author cinema.' TV series give movie directors the potential of a new opportunity to be able to explore and express their talents within the full extent of their art. This is why I’m really eager to work on Marseille."

The news comes as Netflix continues to make a considerable push for global subscribers. To date, Latin America has seen more activity, with the streaming service prepping Narcos, a drama based on Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel, in Colombia and an untitled Spanish-language comedy from director Gaz Alazraki coming down the pipeline as well.

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