Joseph Fiennes Fronted ‘Cyrano’ Leads Atrium TV’s New Drama Slate

Cyrano, a new adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac starring Joseph Fiennes, is among four new titles in advanced development at Atrium TV, the “commissioning club” set up last year by Sir Howard Stringer and Jeremy Fox. The slate was unveiled to club members last night in Cannes.

Cyrano tells the story of a brave and daring hero, crippled emotionally by his insecurities and a belief that he cannot be loved. He has long been in love with Roxane and in a bid to stop her marrying Vicomte Valvert he instigates a highly dubious plan to make Roxane fall in love with a living, breathing, idealised version of himself – a handsome young soldier named Christian. However, in doing so, he embarks on a dangerous course where his obsession threatens to consume him and destroy the one relationship he’s trying hard to protect.

The six episode series is envisioned as a bold, daring and cinematic adaptation that has been penned by Tracy Ann Baines. It will be produced by The Development Partnership, with Ed Clarke (Swimming with Men, Locke) and Robert Taylor executive producing. “This is a timeless tale of unrequited love and of lives entwined in a dance of deceit and delusion”, Fiennes said. “I am looking forward to getting to grips with the compelling and contradictory character of Cyrano and it has been a wonderful experience to pitch Tracy’s brilliant vision for him to Atrium TV and its members.”

The other four projects include: The Body, an eight episode series based on the novella of the same name by Hanif Kureishi; Clara Vine, an eight episode spy thriller adapted by writer Jane English (Harlots, Sugar Rush) from the international best-selling Clara Vine novels by Jane Thynne; and The Mexican Witch Hunt, a supernatural thriller following an ongoing manhunt for Miguel Angel Rodriguez Esperanza, an illegal Mexican immigrant suspected of a killing spree in Arizona.

In addition to announcing these four projects, Atrium announced that two of their previously announced projects, Silo and The Last Amazon, are now set to go into production. Silo is a violent drama set in a futuristic San Francisco where, because of diminished resources, people live in Silos dividing the haves from the have-nots. It was penned by American Odyssey creator Peter Horton and True Blood scribe and Raelle Tucker, with Peter Horton and Michael Douglas producing. The Last Amazon focuses on the great Amazon Queens such as Antiope and Hippolyta, portraying their extraordinary lives, loves and major battles, notably, their campaign against the Ancient Greeks. The series was created by Rafe Judkins, with Gene Stein and Ava DuVernay executive producing.

“We are delighted that this fantastic mix of writing, producing and acting talent could come to Cannes to present their visions for these projects to our members at this third Club meeting”, said Richard Halliwell, CEO of Atrium TV. “From 17th century France and 1930s Germany, to present day America and a near future when we might live forever, these four projects are all rich with story and characters and each is immediately intriguing, providing new takes on universal themes. Our members demand standout programming for their customers and we are confidant that these new projects will each appeal across the numerous markets in which our members operate.”

Atrium TV was launched with the stated goal of deliverin premium, high profile drama content for delivery by regional OTT players and TelCos. Under the model under which they launched last year, Atrium TV finds and develops suitable projects and shares them with club members, who then decide if they wish to invest. If they buy into a project, club members will be able to licence the series for their territory and will have the right to exploit it in their local market. Sales in the rest of the world will be handled by DRG. BT TV is the club member for the UK market.