Lead Cast Revealed for Much Anticipated Adaptation of Jules Verne Classic for France Télévisions, ZDF, Rai (The European Alliance) and Seven
Filming Starts February 2020 for Transmission Late Autumn 2020
London, December 4th 2019: David Tennant, one of television’s best known and loved actors, will be playing literature’s greatest explorer, Phileas Fogg, in an epic adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic, Around the World in 80 Days, it was revealed today.
The world renowned and multi-award winning actor whose credits include Broadchurch, Jessica Jones, Doctor Who and Good Omens, will lead the cast and travel the world as the intrepid explorer who takes on the adventure of a lifetime, in the Slim Film + Television and Federation’s 8 x 60’ adaptation.
Following an outrageous bet, Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, take on the legendary journey of circumnavigating the globe in just 80 days, swiftly joined by aspiring journalist Abigail Fix, who seizes the chance to report on this extraordinary story.
Joining Tennant to complete the valiant trio are rising French star, Ibrahim Koma (Je Suis Daddy, Mother is Wrong), who takes on the role of the mercurial Passepartout; an irrepressible chancer who falls into the role of Fogg’s ‘valet’, little knowing it will change his life forever; and Leonie Benesch (The Crown, White Ribbon) playing Abigail Fix, the young journalist determined to make her mark in a man’s world and emerge from the long shadow of her British establishment father.
The series, which is adapted by a team of renowned writers led by Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, The Living and the Dead) and Caleb Ranson (Child of Mine, Heartless), is a truly international drama with filming starting in February 2020 for transmission at the end of the year.
Film, television and music video director Steve Barron (The Durrells, Treasure Island, Dreamkeeper) will be lead director with Charles Beeson (The Mentalist, Supernatural) also lined up to direct a number of episodes. Executive producers are Simon Crawford Collins for Slim Film + Television and Lionel Uzan and Pascal Breton for Federation.
Crawford Collins said: “We are thrilled to have such a talent as David to play this modern take on the iconic role of Phileas Fogg. Bigger than the hair-raising physical challenges of the adventure – from the scorching heat of the desert to skulduggery in Hong Kong and of course strikes in Paris – will be Fogg’s personal journey. I’m excited that viewers will also have the pleasure of watching the extraordinary talents of Leonie and Ibrahim in the roles of Fix and Passepartout, as they travel around the world. The series is full of adrenaline, heart and of course lots of fun, thanks to Ashley and our talented writing team. Viewers are in for something really special!”
Breton added: “Jules Verne’s most well-known and well-loved novel is coming to life again thanks to a brilliant trio of European actors, led by the great David Tennant. Having such an incredible cast obviously has us thrilled to produce and distribute (with our partner Slim) the first major family series presented by the Alliance of top European broadcasters (FTV/ZDF/RAI).”
Nathalie Biancolli, EVP International Scripted, France Télévisions commented; “The Alliance is proud to work alongside European talents to develop such an exceptional adventure series around this major work of literature. Created in 2018 by France Televisions (France), RAI (Italy) and ZDF (Germany), The Alliance is a strategic production laboratory for public service broadcasters. The European Alliance reinforces an original and diversified creative strategy that promotes cultural diversity and European talent through ambitious high-end productions, which broaden the field of TV fiction and aim at international markets. The Alliance is currently developing seven new projects and also announced to focus on nonlinear demands.”
Around the World in Eighty Days is a Slim Film + Television and Federation co-production with additional co-production partners, Palladium Pictures in South Africa, and Daro Film, associate producer. France Télévisions introduced the project to their Alliance broadcasting partners; Germany’s ZDF and Italy’s RAI. Seven West Media are also backing the production and are broadcasting the drama in Australia.
Federation Entertainment will handle distribution rights to the series.
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About Slim Film + Television
Slim is a specialist drama production company based in the heart of London and committed to making the very best dramas for the UK and international market.
Under the guidance of MD Simon Crawford Collins, the company works with some of the most exciting writers in the UK, and beyond, to produce hugely entertaining, adventurous and emotional dramas that have simply great characters at their core. Simon was previously joint Managing Director at Kudos where he produced some of the most era-defining dramas of recent years including Spooks, Hustle and Ashes to Ashes.
Slim aims to continue the tradition of making platform defining television that lives long in the audiences’ memory.
Slim is backed by Seven West Media; Australia’s leading integrated media and content creation company which operates the country’s leading free-to-air television network, flagship channel, Network 7.
About Federation Entertainment
Based in Paris, Los Angeles, Rome and Madrid, Federation Entertainment has quickly established itself as a top indie European studio. Its model of development, production, distribution and marketing is at the service of premium original content specifically designed for the global marketplace.
Created in 2013 and run by Pascal Breton, Federation is co-headed by Lionel Uzan, CEO, and founders David Michel (head of Cottonwood Media, the Kids company of the group), Stephane Sperry and Serge Hayat. Thierry Sorel joined the team in 2016 followed by Benoit Lacombe in 2017 as COO. Ashley Stern heads the LA office.
Federation is now expanding into non-scripted content, teaming up with WeMake. Founded in June 2017 by Bouchra Réjani (former COO of Shine France), WeMake focuses on the creation and production of original, unscripted content for all platforms, in all genres.
Patrick Wachsberger (ex co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Pictures) and Federation have recently joined forces to create Picture Perfect Federation, a joint venture dedicated to premium television content for both US and international markets.
Federation’s prestigious portfolio includes The Bureau (40 X 52’, TOP – The Oligarchs Productions / Federation for CANAL+), Marseille (16 X 52’, a Netflix Original series produced by Federation) ; Hostages (22 X 45’, an Israelian thriller coproduced by Yezirah Ivrit and Federation) ; Bad Banks (6 X 52’, a German financial thriller coproduced by Letterbox Filmproduktion and Iris Productions for ZDF and Arte France) ; Undercover (10 X 50’, a thriller produced by De Mensen for VRT) ; The Twelve (10×52′), a fascinating psychological thriller produced by Eyeworks, in competition at Canneseries 2019 ; Torn, a romantic 6 X 52’ thriller in competition at Series Mania 2019… as well as Find Me In Paris (78 X 26′) the premium live action hit for tweens coproduced by ZDF and Paris Opera dance school, and the animated series Ollie & Moon (104 X 11′) and Squish (52 X 13′), on the kids side.