‘While rooted in a historical context, it will resonate with today’s audience’

Distributor Mediawan Rights
Producer Palomar in collaboration with DEMD Productions
Length 8 x 52 minutes
Broadcasters Rai (Italy), France Télévisions

TV’s relationship with classic French literary works has been a healthy one. Les Misérables, The Three Musketeers and Around The World In Eighty Days have all appeared on the small screen in recent times. Even the tales of Arsène Lupin made it onto Netflix, albeit with a modern twist.

Now comes another epic: Alexandre Dumas’ The Count Of Monte Cristo. The tale of wrongful imprisonment, daring deceit and revenge centres around Edmund Dantès, a young sailor framed for treason and imprisoned without trial in the Château d’If, a terrifying island fortress off Marseille. After years behind bars, Dantès escapes, assumes the identity of the titular character, and plots his vengeance against those who wronged him.

Sam Claflin takes the role of Dantès, leading a cast that includes Jeremy Irons, Ana Girardot, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Blake Ritson and Karla-Simone Spence, among others.

Palme d’Or winner Bille August directs the series, reuniting himself with the 19th century French literary canon, having worked on the 1998 Les Misérables film adaptation.

It is the second major period work distributor Mediawan Rights has taken on after last year’s Zorro reboot and Mediawan managing director Valérie Vleeschhouwer is confident it will cut through.

“It draws inspiration from a worldwide classic IP, offering a thrilling reboot of an iconic piece,” she says. “This aligns perfectly with Mediawan’s strategy of blending significant IP with high-end talent and producers, ensuring its potential to address a global audience.

“While it is rooted in a historical context, the strength of this intellectual property lies in its ability to explore universal themes, which will resonate with today’s audience, ensuring relevance and engagement.”

Vleeschhouwer says Monte Cristo’s exploration of universal and timeless themes will “resonate with viewers across cultures and generations”.

Producer Palomar’s past success in scripted gives her confidence. Alongside hit procedural Inspector Montalbano, the Rome-based Mediawan-owned label is behind the adaptation of Umberto Eco’s period crime thriller The Name Of The Rose, which sold around the world in 2018.

Hitting the right notes for what a modern adaptation of a period work should cover so as not to alienate contemporary viewers is one thing, but Vleeschhouwer also emphasises the adaptation’s glossiness.

“The visual quality and cinematic approach are outstanding, with meticulous attention to detail in shooting locations to bring authenticity to the screen,” she adds.

The series enters the market following a splashy premiere at Series Mania, and Vleeschhouwer says Mediawan has received “significant interest from various territories”.

“This IP resonates universally, and we take pride in presenting a show featuring an exceptional cast and director, alongside phenomenal production values,” she adds. “We have a project that appeals to both linear channels and digital platforms, delivering the gripping storytelling and cinematic approach sought by broadcasters worldwide.”