Amazon Prime Video is stepping up scripted production in Italy with green lights for two new original series: dark Mafia comedy “The Bad Guy,” and young adult coming-of-age drama “Prisma,” which is about twin brothers who go against gender norms in different ways.
The new Italian Amazon Original skeins were announced at a Prime Video Presents Italy 2021 showcase event held in Rome, but attended online by journalists.
With these new shows, Amazon is reaching a presence in Italy comparable to Netflix in terms of volume of original productions.
Prime Video also announced A-list actor Kim Rossi Stuart (pictured) as the lead in their previously announced heist series “Everybody Loves Diamonds” and Arianna Becheroni, Adriano Giannini (“The Ties”), Lucia Mascino and Dora Romano as the ensemble cast of crime drama “Bang Bang Baby,” their first Italian original. These Amazon shows are being produced by Fremantle units Wildside and The Apartment.
Rising local talent Aurora Giovinazzo (“Freaks Out”) will play the lead in the first Italian Amazon Original Movie “Anni da cane,” (“Dog Years”) directed by Fabio Mollo and targeting youngsters, produced by Notorious Pictures.
“The Bad Guy,” which has an innovative concept, is being produced by Indigo Film, the shingle behind Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar winner “The Great Beauty.” The show revolves around a Sicilian public prosecutor named Nino Scotellaro who devoted his whole life to fighting the Mafia and finds himself accused and condemned of being a mafioso himself. He then pulls off a Machiavellian revenge plan, becoming the “bad guy” that he had been unfairly turned into.
Giancarlo Fontana(“Put Grandma in the Freezer”) will direct “The Bad Guy,” which was created by Ludovica Rampoldi (“Gomorrah”), Davide Serino and Giuseppe G. Stasi. The plan is for a global launch in 2022.
“Prisma” comes from the team behind “Skam Italia,” the Italian adaptation of the Nordic young adult drama that made a splash in Italy and plays on Netflix. It’s about two identical adolescent twin brothers who challenge gender norms in different ways in a journey of self-discovery involving their group of friends who are also trying to find their place in the world.
The series is created by Ludovico Bessegato and Alice Urciuolo, will be directed by Bessegato and produced by Beta-owned Cross Productions, the shingle behind crime series “The Hunter,” which played on Walter Presents in the U.K.
During the presentation, Amazon also announced two high-profile licensed Italian products. The six-episode comedy thriller series “Monterossi,” about a middle-aged, disillusioned TV writer who owes his success to trashy shows that he hates and decides to leave television for good to become an investigator. “Monterossi” is produced by Palomar (“Montalbano”) and directed by Roan Johnson (“Piuma”). The second title is “Ben: Respira,” about Italian pop star Benjamin Mascolo and produced by Leone Film Group’s Lotus Production unit.
Amazon, which is pursuing a multi-pronged approach in Italy combining scripted, unscripted and sports content, also announced an overall deal with Italian pop star Achille Lauro, who will be among talent in the second season of the Italian version of Amazon’s “Celebrity Hunted,” which was Amazon’s first unscripted show in Italy. Lauro will also appear in the film “Anni da Cane” and in the series “Prisma.”
“Our approach is to work with the most innovative Italian creators and talent to create captivating and ambitious local stories for our customers, bringing to life characters and worlds in a way they will not have seen before,” said Georgia Brown, head of European Amazon Originals for Amazon Studios.
Nicole Morganti, head of Italian Amazon Originals for Amazon Studios, called the Italian slate “the culmination of our efforts to innovate and take our programming to the next level.”