Patrick Wachsberger' Picture Perfect to Adapt Allison Pataki’s 'Empress Sisi' Novels

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Patrick Wachsberger

The new TV company founded by ex-Lionsgate boss Patrick Wachsberger will adapt Pataki’s novels about the life of Empress Sisi of Austria together with Pascal Breton’s Federation Entertainment.

Patrick Wachsberger, the former Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment boss, is betting on a beloved Austrian Empress will be his ticket back into the business.

Wachsberger on Friday announced that Picture Perfect Federation, the television joint venture he launched together with French executive Pascal Breton, has boarded their first project, acquiring adaptation right to Allison Pataki’s best-selling novels The Accidental Empress and Sisi: Empress on Her Own.

Picture Perfect plans to adapt the books as an English-language high-end television series, together with Michael Shamberg’s MAS Production (Erin Brockovich, Pulp Fiction) as executive producer. Picture Perfect will sell the series worldwide and Wachsberger and Breton will be pitching it to international networks and streaming services at the MIPTV television market in Cannes next week.

Empress Elizabeth —nicknamed“Sisi” —of Austria was the Princess Diana of her time. Born into the Bavarian royal family in 1837, she became an international celebrity when, at the age of 15, she unwittingly stole the heart of her sister’s fiancé, Emperor Franz Joseph. She married him at 16, becoming Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. But she was also thrust into what was the most treacherous imperial court of the time.

Romy Schneider famously played the young Sisi in a series of hugely successful films in the 1950s. This will be the first international television series based on her life.

Taking a page out of Netflix's The Crown playbook, Picture Perfect says it is planning the series as a female-driven period piece with a modern spin, “about a strong woman’s journey to accept and embrace her power in order to make her mark and live on her own terms in a male-dominated world.”

“Sisi was a woman ahead of her time and indelibly made her mark with dignity and grace,” Wachsberger said in a statement.

Added Breton: “The romantic yet tragic destiny of Empress Sisi is almost as well-known as that of the Queen of England. Patrick, Michael and I hope we can attract top global talent to bring this legendary story back to life, and at the same time reveal a young actress as a new global star.”

The series will span Sisi's life from 1853 up to the eve of World War I.