While American TV series have raised the bar in recent years for quality and investment, with a string of hits from The Wire and The Sopranos to Breaking Bad and Treme, Europe is determined not to be left behind, and the second series of the Franco-German ‘Borgias’ is about to hit our screens.
The first season was a hit, being sold in 85 countries with its mix of sex, love, violence, intrigue, lust, betrayal and faith.
Now filming for the second series, euronews visited the set at Caetani Castle near Rome and found no less than 24 nationalities among the Borgia crew. It is a real pan-European project, with a mix of languages and styles that is producing a unique co-operation, and has the ambition to be a worldwide success.
“This series was always conceived as almost a global project. Financially the money comes from a number of different countries, primarily France and Germany, and then in terms of the talent we were always determined to have the best actors, the best designers, the most talented people here, regardless of what country they come from,” said writer and Executive Producer Tom Fontana.
The lead role of Rodrigo Borgia, the Catalan cardinal whose boundless ambition would lead him to bribe and kill his way to the papacy, is played by American actor John Doman.
“Well, Rodrigo Borgia is the role of a lifetime for an actor – a very complex character, he has a lot of drama going on in his life, he loves his family, he is power hungry, he will do anything to get what he wants and not only does he have strength but he is also vulnerable in many ways,” said Doman.
According to international distribution company Beta Film, ‘Borgia’ was the highest-rated original series of all time on Canal+ in France and in Italy on Sky Italia. On Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF it ran at prime time and was fictional prime time winner every night.
The first season cost 25 million euros to produce and the budget for this season is 30 million euros. Season 2 will be shot in eight months and a quarter of that will be shot in Italy in 20 separate locations. The rest will once again be shot in the Czech Republic.