Joe Wright to Direct Sky’s Mussolini Drama


BAFTA winner Joe Wright (Darkest Hour, Atonement, Cyrano) has joined the Sky original drama series M. Son of the Century, about Benito Mussolini’s rise to power, as director.

Based on the best-selling book by Antonio Scurati, the eight-part series will cover the period from the founding of Fasci Italiani in 1919 through to Mussolini’s infamous speech in parliament following the murder of socialist MP Giacomo Matteotti in 1925.

M. Son of the Century, produced by Sky Studios and Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures in collaboration with Pathé, will star Luca Marinelli as Mussolini. The series is written by Stefano Bises (Gomorrah, The New Pope, ZeroZeroZero, Speravo de morì prima) and Davide Serino (1992, 1993, Il Re, Esterno Notte). It is set to begin filming at Cinecittà Studios over the next few weeks.

M. Son of the Century will be aired exclusively on Sky Atlantic and the streaming service NOW in all of Sky’s markets in Europe. Fremantle is handling international distribution of the series.

Nils Hartmann, executive VP of Sky Studios Italia and Deutschland, said: “For a great project like M. and for such a challenging role as Mussolini, we could only think of an extraordinary and eclectic talent like Luca Marinelli. There are not many actors like him in Italy or in the world, and we have been courting him for a long time and are now delighted to have him in this new Sky Studios production, which is becoming more and more unique. With the direction of a master like Joe Wright and with the guidance of Scurati’s novel, adapted here by Stefano Bises and Davide Serino, we are ready to launch a project that marks a further step forward in our creative and productive journey.”

Mieli, CEO of The Apartment Pictures, a Fremantle Company, added: “I am hugely happy about the artistic team we have in M. Joe Wright is perfect because I love the way he’s dealt with the complexity of the human soul and the ethical dilemmas of power in the past, and also I love the way he can change genres. Luca Marinelli is definitely one of the greatest actors of his generation and only a great actor like him can play a character as complex as that of Mussolini.”