By Jesse Whittock
International TV Co-Editor
Oscar winner Roberto Benigni is attached to Paramount+ original Francesco Il Cantico, as the global streamer prepares to launch in Italy tomorrow with more than 8,000 hours of content.
Benigni will front the show, which is billed as “an immersive reading of one of the most iconic texts dedicated to love.” Its announcement came at a star-studded blue carpet event at the iconic Cinecittà Studios in Rome this evening, with Paramount+ still gathering pace following launches in countries such as the UK and South Korea.
Further production details of Francesco Il Cantico are understood to be following at a later date.
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Also unveiled on the evening was a new season of comedy Vita Da Carlo, in which comedian and actor Carlo Verdone plays himself, revealing his difficult relationship with Italy’s capital Rome. Verdone also directs the show, which bills its plot as “showing the frugal private life of a man who never denies himself to his audience, between selfies on the streets and autographs at rest stops.”
Joining Benigni and Verdone on Paramount+, are the likes of Italian stars Elodie and Greta Scarano. Elodie will appear in her first acting role in Ti Mangio Il Cuore, a film based on Carlo Bonini and Giuliano Foschini’s novel-investigation of the mafia in Foggia that was received well at the Venice International Film Festival recently, while Scarano stars in Cattleya and VIS’s drama Circeo, which recounts the events surrounding the infamous case of 1975 that changed Italian society forever. It also go out on Rai in Italy.
Other Italian series include Miss Fallaci, which debuts in 2023 and details the true story of one of the most controversial Italian and international journalism icons ever, Oriana Fallaci; Quattordici Giorni, Ivan Cotroneo’s written and directed story about a couple forced into two weeks of seclusion and drama series Corpo Libero, from Indigo Film and Network Movie, in co-production with ZDFneo, collaboration with Rai Fiction and in association with All3Media International. Launching in late October, it is based on the novel by Ilaria Bernardini and written with Chiara Barzini, Ludovica Rampoldi and Giordana Mari, and is billed as “a gripping teen-drama thriller” set in the world of gymnastics. Six-parter Bose, meanwhile, follows the life of singer-songwriter Miguel Bose.
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Unscripted shows include a new season of Ex on the Beach, which is on Paramount-owned TV locally, and the first local version of dating format Are You the One?
The shows will sit alongside U.S. shows such as Albert S Ruddy’s making-of The Godfather drama The Offer, Chiwetel Ejiofor-starring drama series The Man Who Fell to Earth and Sylvester Stallone exiled gangster drama Tulsa King.
The new originals are part of Paramount+’s plan to greenlight 150 international originals by 2025.
“Tonight, we are celebrating the debut of Paramount+, which seamlessly combines Hollywood with Italian storytelling and creativity. Italy has been a home to Paramount for many years and now we’re bringing the best Italian – and global – films and series together in one place, on Paramount+,” said Tom Ryan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Streaming, Paramount, during the Blue Carpet event’s presentation.
“We’re the only streaming service where you’ll see Sylvester Stallone, SpongeBob, Star Trek, South Park and incredible Italian stars like Elodie and Verdone all in one place,” said Marco Nobili, Executive Vice President and International General Manager of Paramount+. “With over 100 years of storytelling experience from our renowned Hollywood studio to our international production hubs, Paramount knows how to make great entertainment for everyone.”
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