Lux Vide (Emmy winner Joseph) and Frank Spotnitz’s Big Light Productions (The Man in the High Castle) are teaming up to produce an eight-part drama series chronicling the rise of the Medici family and the Italian Renaissance.

Richard Madden (SAG nominee Game of Thrones) and Dustin Hoffman (Oscar winner for Rain Man) have been cast, it was announced today as well. Madden will play the lead, enterprising son Cosimo de’ Medici, and Hoffman will portray family patriarch Giovanni de’ Medici, in a pivotal role.

The series dramatizes the story of the family’s ascent from simple merchants to power brokers who sparked an economic and cultural revolution, in the process creating a long list of powerful enemies.

The series’ executive producers are Frank Spotnitz (Emmy winner The X-Files), Matilde and Luca Bernabei (Golden Globe nominee Coco Chanel); the creators are Nicholas Meyer (Oscar nominated for The Seven-Per-Cent Solution) and Frank Spotnitz; Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (Emmy winner The Pillars of the Earth) directs all eight episodes.

RAI will broadcast the series in Italy, with Wild Bunch TV overseeing international sales, launching at MIPCOM in a few weeks.

“The Medici came to power at a time of great social and economic inequality,” said Big Light’s Frank Spotnitz. “They were great disrupters. Their banking practices led to the creation of a middle class, making them unimaginably wealthy. The Medici in turn used their vast power and resources to challenge traditional thinking, ushering in a new era of revolutionary art and science such as the world had never seen. It’s a powerful story that resonates even now.”

“The legacy of the Medici family is so profound that their impact on the Renaissance is immeasurable. The foundations they laid in business and culture reach into the modern world today, which gives our story great breadth and depth,” said Matilde and Luca Bernabei, Lux Vide’s Chairman and CEO respectively, in a joint statement. “After seven centuries, their story remains a compelling one, full of intrigue, power, art, and faith. The historic and artistic heritage they left us still lives on, and we hope that it will inspire a new Renaissance in Italy, Europe, and throughout the world. Because of the project’s cultural importance, we wanted to bring the best talents to the series, great writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz and the incomparable actors Dustin Hoffman and Richard Madden.”

Principal photography will begin this month on location in Rome and Florence, Italy, with unprecedented access to historic sites where many of the actual events occurred, including Palazzo Vecchio, the Basilica di San Lorenzo, and the Duomo.

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