FremantleMedia International and Oscar-nominated director Roland Joffé are putting a new spin on Victor Hugo’s classic The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Under a co-development partnership, Joffé (The Killing Fields, The Mission) will write a retelling of the story to be titled Ugly. The planned TV series will trace the titular character’s journey and aims to show what it means to be human regardless of outward appearances. The period project will be set against the political, economic and social explosion of early 17th Century France. A further move by Fremantle into scripted drama, Ugly will be discussed with broadcasters at the upcoming Mip-TV market in Cannes. Earlier this year, FremantleMedia North America acquired rights to the Neil Gaiman urban fantasy novel American Gods for a potential series, and last year the parent company acquired a majority stake in Danish scripted producer Miso Film. Joffé is also lined up to direct A+E Studios and ITV Studios America’s eight-hour mini Texas Rising (working title) which will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Joffé is repped by Resolution.
Samuel Goldwyn Films bought U.S. rights on the Roland Joffe-directed There Be Dragons, a Spain-set drama that stars Wes Bentley, Charlie Cox, Olga Kurylenko, Derek Jacobi and Dougray Scott. The film will be released May 6. Scott plays a journalist who tries to unravel a mystery that links his father to the founder of Opus Dei.
Roland Joffe is back the volatile political terrain he covered in films like The Mission and The Killing Fields. It’s There Be Dragons. Producer Ignacio Sancha said the film takes place during the Spanish Civil War. A journalist who looks back on the volatile conflict uncovers his father’s violent role. Joffe helped finance the film, and he and Sancha (who used his banking background) raised the funding to cover the budget, as well as P&A for a spring 2011 release. They are in talks with distributors right now.