Silvio Berlusconi Documentary Stake, TV Series Option Goes to Italy's Leone Film Group
The company buys a 50 percent stake in the documentary, which is based on Alan Friedman’s upcoming book on the media mogul that promises an in-depth look at his controversial life.
Rome’s Leone Film Group has inked a deal to acquire 50 percent of a new documentary on Silvio Berlusconi. The documentary features never-before-seen footage of the former Prime Minister opening up about his life as media mogul and the most powerful man in Italy.
The deal also includes 50 percent of world distribution rights to the documentary and an option to produce a fictionalized TV series based on Alan Friedman’s new book Berlusconi: The Epic Story of the Billionaire Who Took Over Italy.
The book, which will be published in the U.S. in October by Hachette Books, is described as a warts-and-all look at Berlusconi, from his rise in media and politics to the bunga bunga scandals and tax fraud that brought him down.
Berlusconi collaborated with Friedman on the book, which they hope will be seen as a modern-day version of the Nixon/Frost interviews, with no stone left uncovered. It will be published in more than 20 countries.
With the working title, My Way: Berlusconi in his Own Words, the documentary is based on more than 128 hours of interviews conducted with Berlusconi over a year and a half.
The Leone Film Group is run by Raffaela and Andrea Leone, children of the late director Sergio Leone.
“We are delighted to have acquired these valuable rights, which will allow us to proceed with world distribution across all media platforms,” said Andrea Leone.
“For many years, many journalists have asked me to tell them my life story,” Berlusconi said in announcing the book last June. “I have always refused. I agreed to cooperate with Alan Friedman because I trust him. As Steve Jobs said to his biographer, ‘I will tell you my story. You will write what you like.’ ”
Friedman said of the new collaboration with the Leone Film Group: “These are seasoned professionals and I am glad that the international rights to the Berlusconi documentary will be in good hands.”
The recent Sky original series 1992 explored the political environment in Italy that set the scene for Berlusconi’s rise into politics. It was a hit in Italy and can currently be viewed on Netflix in the U.S.