Italian playwright Stefano Massini’s “The Lehman Trilogy,” which just won five Tony Awards including the prize for best play, is set to become a high-end TV series to be produced by Italy’s Fandango and The Apartment, the outfits behind HBO’s Elena Ferrante adaptation “My Brilliant Friend.”
The TV project, originated by Italian producer Domenico Procacci’s Fandango, to adapt into a series the epic drama written by Massini that charts the history of one of the financial institutions that helped spark the 2008 recession, has now been boarded by producer Lorenzo Mieli’s shingle The Apartment, the Fremantle-owned company behind Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-nominated “The Hand of God” and his “The Young Pope” and “The New Pope” shows.
More from Variety
Fandango and Mieli previously collaborated on “My Brilliant Friend” for HBO and Italy’s RAI.
Having Fremantle-backed The Apartment on board gives “The Lehman Trilogy” TV series adaptation considerably more heft, though a commissioning broadcaster or streamer remains to be found.
Mieli in a statement called “Lehman Trilogy” – which besides best play won Tony Awards for Sam Mendes’ direction and for the lead performance of Simon Russell Beale, among other prizes – “a marvelous and contemporary text” on the “intrinsic failures of a certain form of capitalism.”
The chief of The Apartment also noted that it’s rare for an Italian play to be celebrated outside national borders. “That’s why transforming into a series such a beloved family saga – which is an archetype of the social and financial transformation of a country as well as much of the West – will be an amazing challenge,” Mieli went on to add.
Procacci, speaking to Variety last November, praised Massini for managing “to tell so effectively a story that doesn’t have any Italian elements, since most of it takes place in the U.S.”
The Italian theater production of “Lehman Brothers” had its world premiere in 2015 at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, directed by late great Italian theater innovator Luca Ronconi.
It was this production that inspired Mendes to stage a condensed English-language version of Massini’s five-hour play adapted by Ben Power, who at the time was deputy artistic director of London’s National Theatre. The Mendes-directed production had several sold out runs in London before traveling to New York and elsewhere globally.
Best of Variety