After months of negotiations, Netflix has closed a deal for its newest original series Marco Polo, a nine-episode drama of politics, manipulation and deadly warfare among clashing empires. Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki) are directing the first episode before they go off to helm Pirates Of The Caribbean 5. The project, originally set up at Starz, will premiere on Netflix in late 2014. It will be produced by The Weinstein Co. at the new Pinewood Studios, Malaysia. Originally developed by the Weinstein Co. and Electus, the project received a 10-episode straight-to-series order by Starz in January 2012. Seven scripts were written for the series, which was supposed to film in China, something no other U.S. show has done, which proved a complex and difficult proposition. A year and a half later, last August Starz released the project, and it was taken to Netflix, which made an offer for nine episodes to be filmed in Malaysia. Electus remains involved, serving as executive producer and distributing in all non-Netflix international territories. Ronning and Sandberg will also executive produce with Dan Minahan (Game Of Thrones). The series, created and executive produced by John Fusco (Hidalgo), set in 13th century China, a world replete with astonishing martial arts, sexual intrigue, political skullduggery and spectacular battles. “John Fusco and his team have created a timeless tale of power, adventure, betrayal and lust that combines deft storytelling and cinematic ambition,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer. Added TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein: “With the glowing success of series like House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, it’s clear that Netflix is breaking tremendous ground in the realm of streaming original content. We could not be more excited to partner with them on this project, along with the creative tour de force of John Fusco and his talented team.”
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