After expanding into Spain, Italy’s ITV-owned Cattleya, the company behind “Gomorrah” and “ZeroZeroZero,” has acquired rights to Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s bestselling spy thriller “El Italiano,” which it plans to adapt into a high-end miniseries.
Inspired by real events, “El Italiano” is a tale combining romance and espionage set at the height of World War II in the Bay of Algeciras, Spain, from where Italian frogmen using explosives wreaked havoc among the Allied forces by sinking several freighters.
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The novel, which has been a recent bestseller in Spanish speaking countries, was published in Italy in June.
The “El Italiano” project is headed by Arturo Díaz, the former Netflix executive who last year joined Madrid-based Cattleya Producciones as its chief, and Cattleya founder and president Ricardo Tozzi.
Díaz’s executive producer credits at Netflix, where he had oversight of series from Spain and Latin America, include the smash hit “Las Chicas de Cable,” the streamer’s longest-running non-U.S. series. He also oversaw the development of “Elite” and the “Rebelde” reboot.
Cattleya Producciones is currently casting Spanish, Italian, and English-speaking actors to play in “El Italiano.”
Spanish screenwriter Beto Marini, co-creator of Movistar+ series “La Unidad,” is adapting the book.
“When we read ‘El Italiano,’ it was impossible not to imagine a television series,” said Díaz in a statement.
“We can feel the danger of being a combat diver, the tension of being a spy crossing a border, and above all the passion of two highly nuanced characters,” Díaz added, noting that this is “an ambitious international series, worthy of an author who represents Spain all over the world.”
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