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A Russian-made TV miniseries based on the life of Mata Hari has started shooting in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.
Dennis Berry, who worked on U.S. sci-fi TV series Highlander and Stargate SG-1, is directing the project due to air on Russian state network First Channel and Ukraine’s Inter next year.
An English-language version for the international market will also be shot, with Lisbon’s well-preserved 19th- and 20th-century architecture providing locations along with St. Petersburg. The 12-part series, entitled Mata Hari, is produced by Moscow-based Star Media and stars John Malkovich; Rutger Hauer; Christopher Lambert; Russian actor, writer, director and producer Fedor Bondarchuk — who was recently tapped to shoot adventure movie Odysseus for Warner Bros. — and Kseniya Rappoport, known for roles in such Italian films as Guiseppe Capotonde‘s The Double Hour.
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French actress Vahina Giocante plays the title role of Mata Hari, an exotic dancer born in the Netherlands suspected of working as a double agent, who was executed by the Germans for espionage in 1917 at the age of 41.
Mata Hari’s death by firing squad became an international media event at the time. In the 1970s, declassified German documents proved that she had also spied for the Germans.
Vlad Ryashin, series producer, said the story of Mata Hari, whose real name was Margaret Zelle, was that of an “extraordinary woman [who] was lonely and found her own true love only in the end of her short but dramatically flamboyant life. This is a story of an exceptionally strong woman.”
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