By Sahil Patel
Netflix will be available in France by the end of the year. Next year, subscribers in the country will also have access to the first French original series from the streaming company.
Netflix has ordered “Marseille,” an eight-episode political drama from Paris-based Federation Entertainment, the company behind hit French series “Dolmen” and “Sous le Soleil.” The drama will focus on the story of Robert Taro, mayor of the titular city for 25 years, who in the coming elections has to face the man he chose as his heir. Along the way, the characters will come across the drug lords, politicians, unions, and other political players who populate the city — it’s “House of Cards,” but for the French!*
I’m not kidding: “Netflix has given us a blank page to create a ‘House of Cards’ in French that breaks through unspoken hypocrisy. This is a writer’s dream and a great opportunity for French producers and creators to enter a new world,” said series creator and writer Dan Franck in a statement. (If at first you succeed, do it again in French, right?)
Franck’s credits include scripting “La Separation” and “Les Hommes de l’ombre” and co-writing the Golden Globe-winning miniseries “Carlos.”
Shot entirely in France, the first two episodes of “Marseille” will be directed by Florent-Emilio Siri, director of the Cesar-nominated French hits “Cloclo” and “L’Ennemi Intime.” Sundance-winning filmmaker Samuel Benchetrit (“J’ai toujours reve d’etre un gangster”) will also direct.
Production on the series is expected to start in spring of 2015, with a debut planned for all Netflix territories in late 2015.
* In the announcement, Netflix and the series’ creative team take great pains to point out how “Marseille” will be an all-French production, and how it will contribute to the movie/TV business for “artists and creators” in the country. Considering the difficulty Netflix reportedly had in launching in France, which is traditionally very protective of its domestic film business, it’s not surprising — but interesting to note, nonetheless.