Left Bank Pictures are to produce three films for BBC Scotland in association with RTI, Masterpiece and ZDF Television. The drama will star Rufus Sewell as the fictional Italian detective Aurelio Zen – based on the best-selling series of novels by the late Michael Dibdin. Filming will begin in Italy in Spring 2010.
Sewell said: “I’m thrilled to be a part of this project with the opportunity to play such an intriguing, complex and likeable character.”
The series will be based and shot in Rome and will feature many of the combined attractions of Italy and the Dibdin novels – thrilling investigations, fun, warmth and beautiful people. John Alexander will direct the opening film which will be one of Dibdin’s very best novels – Vendetta adapted by Simon Burke. Simon who lives in Perugia with his family is also writing Cabal and Peter Berry is collaborating with Simon on Ratking.
Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning added : “Rufus Sewell will bring passion and intrigue to BBC One as Italian detective Aurelio Zen. Set in contemporary Rome and from the producers behind the Bafta award winning Wallander, I hope Michael Dibden’s books will captivate audiences.”
Additional funding for the project has been provided by BBC Worldwide, Ingenious and Lipsync. BBC Worldwide is brokering the international partnership deal and also looking to distribute the three films internationally on all platforms, including theatrically. Michael Dibdin lived in Italy for many years and had 11 Zen books published which continue to entertain readers around the world. He died three years ago. His novels won many awards including the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger for Ratking.