FtvS is on verge with Almodovar


Oscar-winning Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is venturing into television with a series adaptation of his first international hit, the Oscar-nominated 1988 feature "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown."

Fox TV Studios is developing the English-language hourlong project and has tapped Mimi Schmir to pen the pilot script. Almodovar and Schmir are exec producing.

The movie, starring Carmen Maura and featuring Antonio Banderas, was inspired by 1950s Hollywood comedies. Featuring Almodovar's trademark rapid-fire dialogue and fast-paced action, it chronicles a two-day period in the life of a voice actress who has been abandoned by her lover and gets in a series of comedic situations while frantically trying to track him down.

FtvS — which boasts an international management team, including president Emiliano Calemzuk, an Argentine, and senior vp Diego Suarez, a Spaniard — acquired the rights to "Women" attracted by its pedigree, subject matter and international appeal.

"Pedro Almodovar is unarguably one of the great filmmakers of our time, and this movie overflows with rich, funny, complex characters and relationships — that isn't a bad place to start," FtvS executive vp David Madden said.

Almodovar will be very involved in "Women," which will be developed with an eye for the international market.

"We know that the Almodovar brand will be meaningful both internationally and domestically," Madden said.

FtvS produces drama series for U.S. cable networks, including "Burn Notice" and "Saving Grace," as well as lower-budget series made with international co-producing partners, including "Mental" and "Persons Unknown."

Schmir, an Almodovar fan, already has mined the arena of women in midlife crisis in a novel she is writing based on her "Hot Flashes" blog.

The "Women" series "will be a suburban drama about a group of women who have known each other for a long time, perhaps from college, who are in the middle of their lives and looking at the second half of their lives," Schmir said.

Like the movie, the series will feature a fair amount of humor. Schmir also is planning to pay homage to the movie by keeping some elements, like the film's ongoing gag of unsuspecting visitors to the actress' apartment being knocked out by sleeping pill-laden gazpacho she had intended for her philandering lover.

Almodovar, who won a writing Oscar for "Talk to Her," will premiere his next movie, "Broken Embraces," next month at the Festival de Cannes.

Schmir, whose series credits include "Grey's Anatomy" and "Shark," is repped by WMA and Mosaic.

The deal for Almodovar's "Women" comes on the heels of FtvS aligning with another well-known international filmmaker, "Internal Affairs" director Andrew Lau, who inked a first-look deal with the studio. (partialdiff)