Last Tango In Paris is getting its own The Offer-style making of drama series.
The tumultuous events surrounding the making of the 1972 erotic drama, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, is to be turned into a television series by CBS Studios and Stampede Ventures.
The series comes from Entourage and Boston Public writers Jeremy Miller and Daniel Cohn with Killing Eve’s Lisa Brühlmann and Narcos’ José Padilha to co-direct.
The project, set in Italy, France and the U.S., will span the 18 months before, during and after the production of the film and will explore questions of identity, fame, and artistic ambition. Told through the lens of those at the center of the events – Schneider, Brando and Bertolucci – the series will begin with Bertolucci traveling to Los Angeles in 1971 to convince a broken-down and bankrupt Brando to take a role in his upcoming film – a graphic account of sexual obsession, emotional breakdown and murder.
During the production’s filming, Bertolucci employed ruthless tactics to capture real emotions that ultimately put the actors in harm’s way. Controversy plagued the film following its release in January of 1973, while Brando and Bertolucci profited significantly – the film garnered adjusted gross of $186M, the third highest grossing foreign film to date. The actor and the director went on to receive critical acclaim, with Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best Director, respectively. Schneider, however, was exploited and ridiculed for her part in the film, which led her down a path of addiction and she struggled with mental health. The only compensation she ever received for her role was $4,000.
Greg Silverman and JP Sarni of Stampede Ventures, which has a first-look deal with CBS Studios, will executive produce with Meghan Lyvers, SVP, International Co-Productions and Development at CBS Studios, shepherding the project for the studio. The two companies will take the series out to market in early 2022.
It is similar to CBS Studios’ sister company Paramount Television Studios’ The Offer, which tells the controversial story of another Brando film, The Godfather, for Paramount+.
Brühlmann said, “When José and Stampede approached me, I was instantly taken by the project and the chance to look closer at one of the biggest scandals of our industry’s history – despite it not being treated as such at the time. The opportunity to dive into that world, into all these fascinating characters, and especially the possibility of giving Maria Schneider a voice, is really exciting.”
Added Padilha: “Tango tells the story of two men abusing a young and unexperienced woman, not for sex, but for the sake of art. They did it on camera, and the resulting scene made it into a major feature film, acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. The director and the actors basked in success, while Maria’s pain was neglected. I’m thrilled to explore a story about the ethics of art, an important but often neglected subject matter, in partnership with director Lisa Brühlmann.”
Brühlmann and Padilha are both represented by CAA. Padilha is also represented by Management 360 and attorney Sue Bodine at Cowan DeBaets Abrahams and Sheppard. Miller and Cohn are represented by UTA and Kaplan Perrone.