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Antonio Banderas will return to TV to play Italian crime reporter Mario Spezi in The Monster of Florence, a limited series adaptation of the best-selling true-crime novel from 2008.
Spezi co-wrote The Monster of Florence: A True Story with American fiction writer Douglas Preston. It details their investigation into a notorious series of murders in Italy from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s. The two writers became part of the story when Italian prosecutors began to suspect them of being behind the killings.
“The book, and the series based on it, tell the true story of our search for — and identification of — the killer and our frightening interview with him,” says Preston. “In a bizarre turn, Mario and I were sucked into a harrowing prosecutorial vendetta, our phones tapped, followed and menaced by the police, accused of participating in Satanic rites — which culminated in Mario arrested and charged with being the Monster of Florence himself.”
The Danish writers/directors Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) and Anders Thomas Jensen (Riders of Justice) will adapt The Monster of Florence as a six-part limited series for Studiocanal. Arcel will also direct. Banderas and his agent, Emanuel Nunez, will executive produce.
Arcel said he couldn’t think of a better time to tell this story about “what happens if an entire country starts believing a destructive lie, fed to them by corrupt men in power…combine that with an epic story that literally has everything; a riveting murder mystery, Satanic cults, gangsters, corrupt cops, and a vast conspiracy, it’s any filmmakers dream come true.”
The Monster of Florence is set to shoot on location in Florence, Sardinia and Tuscany. Banderas starred as Pablo Picasso in the second season of Genius (2018). He appears in comedy actioner The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, currently in theaters, and will next be seen starring opposite Penelope Cruz in the Spanish comedy Official Competition from directors Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat.
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