Newen Connect partners with Imaginarium Productions to co-develop and distribute Andy Serkis’ “MADAME!”

08/08 | 08:49

Newen Connect, the distribution arm of Newen Studios (TF1 Group), has signed a deal with Imaginarium Productions which will see the company co-develop and distribute “MADAME!”, an epic period drama series created by Andy Serkis, which he will also showrun and direct. Imaginarium’s Jonathan Cavendish will produce along with Felicita Films’ Marie Guillaumond.

Described by the filmmakers as one of the “greatest stories never told”, the series explores the life of Marie Tussaud, a French artist known for her wax sculptures and the now world-famous museum Madame Tussauds, which she founded in London in 1835. Although Madame Tussauds may be a household name, few know how this extraordinarily pioneering businesswoman built her business from scratch. Her story starts in 18th century Paris, where she honed her craft during the age of enlightenment, the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror, before travelling to England to strike out on her own. At the heart of the narrative is the timeless, compelling, rags-to-riches rise of a ruthless business woman who sacrificed relationships with nearly everyone close to her (including her own children), exchanging love for her legacy.

Andy Serkis said: “This is no straight up period drama, it is a hilariously crazy, no holds barred, anarchic, punk caper conjured from the curiously twisted mind of a fabulously post-truth executioner’s daughter! Marie knows one thing very clearly – if you’re going to tell your own life story, make it entertaining, even if you have to make it up, and whatever happens, cut out the boring bits…”

Rodolphe Buet, CEO – Newen Connect: “We’re absolutely thrilled to start a collaboration with the incredibly talented Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish. Along with Marie Guillaumond, they bring us a very ambitious and unique project with “MADAME!” that depicts a visionary heroine who shook up conventions in the 18th century and whose journey as a strong independent woman managing to build an empire resonates particularly nowadays. Teaming up with The Imaginarium UK anchors the strategy of Newen Connect to support producers in the development and research of financing for ambitious coproduction projects. We cannot wait to present the series to partners and to discover the life of Marie Tussaud on screen through the remarkable vision of Andy Serkis!”

The Imaginarium, founded by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish, is a next generation storytelling production company, with a sister company performance capture studio, Imaginarium Studios. Alongside his illustrious career acting, Andy is an accomplished director. Projects directed by Serkis and produced by Cavendish include “Breathe”, which brought to life the inspiring true love story between Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) and his wife Diana (Claire Foy), an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. In 2018, “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle”, an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” which was released by Netflix in theatres and on its global streaming platform. Most recently, Serkis helmed “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” (2021) for Marvel and Sony Pictures.

Imaginarium TV shows include “Fungus the Bogeyman” for Sky, “Death and Nightingales” for BBC and upcoming “The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself” for Netflix. Films include “The Ritual” for Netflix, and Taika Waititi’s upcoming “Next Goal Wins”, starring Michael Fassbender and Elizabeth Moss.

Co-producer on “MADAME!”, Marie Guillaumond previously worked as TF1’s head of drama and launched her own production company Felicita Films in 2019. She has since produced “Mensonges” and “Belle Belle Belle” for TF1, with a period TV series about the first department store in history and a feature film based on a Tanguy Viel novel in development.

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