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Marseille - Netflix orders French political drama series

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This September, Netflix starts streaming in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany and Austria, following the footsteps of its arrival in the UK & Ireland (January 2012), Scandinavia (September 2012), and Holland (September 2013), after conquering South America (2011).

And Netflix isn't expanding worldwide without creating local original content. This is why it was announced yesterday that Netflix has ordered a French political drama called Marseille. All eight one-hour episodes will be filmed in Marseille starting next Spring for a release in late 2015.

It will depict the power struggle, between corruption and redemption, to become the mayor of the city of Marseille. The fact that this project was greenlit is very much influenced by Netflix's own House of Cards, but it will be more Shakespearian than HoC according to producer Pascal Breton, some family drama will irrigate the stories. There will be tragedy and a few explosions, though without becoming too much of an action series.

It is being written by Dan Franck, who co-wrote with Olivier Assayas his Golden Globe-winning Canal+ miniseries, Carlos. He also wrote a great political France 2 series, Les hommes de l'ombre (season 2 will air this fall), as well as two other Canal+ movies, Le Rainbow Warrior and Goldman, both of them inspired by historical events that had important political ramifications. Franck also wrote TV movies about historical figures such as Jean Moulin and Max Jacob, and he did another TV movie set during the Nuremberg trial, but he also dabbled in science-fiction with a film by comic book artist (and director) Enki Bilal, Tykho Moon.

Great directors have already been selected: episodes 1.01 & 1.02 will be directed by Florent Emilio-Siri (Nid de guêpes, L'ennemi intime, Cloclo : watch these amazing films ; also his Hollywood experiment (Hostage, with Bruce Willis) isn't that bad - visually), and Samuel Benchetrit (Janis & John, J'ai toujours rêvé d'être un gangster, Un voyage) will also direct a couple of episodes. Fun fact: Benchetrit is also an actor and played Pierre Goldman in the Dan Franck-penned Canal+ TV movie about Goldman's life. We come full circle.

And here's the twist: much like House of Cards, the show will launch on Netflix in late 2015 in every country where Netflix is implanted, in French with subtitles. So that's about 40 countries, and they've recently announced that they have more than 50 million subscribers across Canada, The United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, The Dominican Republic, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Ireland, The United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and The Netherlands, and soon many more in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium and France.

Marseille is not the only non-English speaking original series that Netflix is cooking up for 2015 : they're currently developing a 13-episode Mexican family comedy revolving around the inheritance of a football team.

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