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Acclaimed director Shekhar Kapur will direct The Ibis Trilogy, based on best-selling author Amitav Ghosh’s novels set in mid-nineteenth century Asia against the backdrop of the opium wars between Britain, India and China. The series is based on Ghosh’s novels Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke and Flood of Fire.
The series will be produced by Artists Studio, part of Endemol Shine Group, in partnership with Endemol Shine India and newly launched TV packaging company DoveTale Media. The project was unveiled at Series Mania in Lille without giving further details such as a launch date, budget and which network or platform the The Ibis Trilogy will debut on.
Justin Pollard, whose credits include the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and TV series Vikings and The Tudors, is on board as historical consultant and story editor, while a lead writer is being finalized.
A well known helmer in Bollywood with such hits as ’80s classics Masoom and Mr. India, Kapur’s credits include 1994’s breakthrough India-UK production Bandit Queen. He crossed over to Hollywood with his award-winning 1998 epic Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett, and its 2007 sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age. His recent credits include the TNT series Will, which was a fictional take on the early life of William Shakespeare. Kapur has also been signed by Fox’s Indian digital platform Hotstar for an as-yet-unnamed series.
“I have always been fascinated that the drug trade was the engine for the Industrial Revolution,” Kapur said. He added: “The story also follows the journeys of indentured labour from India to colonies around the world, and tells the intriguing tales of people from India, America and China at a time when modern history was being formed.” Kapur also pointed that the series “could run into many seasons.”
Endemol Shine head of scripted for Europe Middle East and Africa Lars Blomgren added that “our ambition is to create a major high-end franchise for the international market, matching the scale and epic sweep of the Ibis novels.”
Endemol Shine EMEA’s credits include 50 non-English projects. These include Norway’s Beforeigners (HBO Europe), Sweden’s Beartown (HBO Europe), The Idhun Memories (Netflix), Cathedral of the Sea (Antena 3/ TV3/ Netflix) and Matadero (Antena 3) from Spain, The Oldenheim Twelve (RTL4) and Lois (NPO1) from the Netherlands, Germany’s Dark (Netflix) and Pagan Peak (Sky Deutschland), France’s Insoupconnable (TF1) and Guyanne (Canal+), Italy’s While I Was Away (Rai Uno) and Queens (Hot) and Just for Today (Yes) from Israel.
Endemol Shine India is a joint venture between Endemol, Shine & CORE Media and CA Media, the Asian investment arm of Peter Chernin’s The Chernin Group. The company’s credits include Indian versions of popular international TV formats such as Big Brother, Fear Factor, MasterChef, So You Think You Can Dance and The Voice, among other shows.
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