Friday, May 24, 2024

ITV Studios America’s Visionary Voyage: ‘Franklin’ Makes Its Grand Debut at Canneseries

In an exclusive reveal at the prestigious Canneseries festival on April 10, ITV Studios America alongside Apple Studios premiered “Franklin,” starring the celebrated Michael Douglas. This event marks a significant milestone for the series, capturing the intricate dance of diplomacy and espionage during America’s founding era.

The Genesis of ‘Franklin’

The concept for “Franklin” took root when Tony Krantz, leveraging his first-look deal with ITV Studios America through Flame Ventures, procured the rights to Stacy Schiff’s historical masterpiece, “A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America.” The book narrates Benjamin Franklin’s covert journey to France in 1776, seeking aid for the faltering American War of Independence. Philippe Maigret, President of ITV Studios America and an executive producer of the series, shared his immediate connection with the narrative’s rich tapestry of history and intrigue, envisioning it as a prime candidate for a landmark television event.

Crafting the Narrative

The adaptation process was meticulous, with Kirk Ellis, a two-time Emmy winner for “John Adams,” entrusted with bringing Schiff’s narrative to the screen. Despite the challenges of aligning the perfect creative ensemble and securing a suitable platform, the project gradually took shape over several years. Maigret emphasized the cyclical nature of creative development, marked by continual adjustments and steadfast collaboration.

Assembling a Dream Team

The series finally gained momentum with the addition of Richard Plepler, former HBO chief and founder of Eden Productions, who signed on as executive producer in early 2020. Esteemed director Tim Van Patten, known for his work on “The Sopranos” and “Boardwalk Empire,” joined soon after, alongside Michael Douglas, who not only leads the cast but also serves as an executive producer. The crew, including director of photography David Franco and writer Howard Korder, brought additional depth to the production, promising a visually and narratively compelling series.

Choosing France as the Backdrop

The decision to film in France was influenced by both creative and economic considerations, according to Maigret. The country offered unparalleled access to authentic historical settings like the Palace of Versailles and numerous Parisian locales, enriching the series’ authenticity. The logistical challenge of filming amidst the pandemic and extreme weather conditions in 2022 tested the production team’s resilience but ultimately underscored their commitment to quality and historical fidelity.

Looking Towards the Future

Despite a saturated market, Maigret remains optimistic about the future of scripted television, citing continued interest in strong, well-produced stories. “Franklin” represents a strategic blend of historical accuracy, stellar casting, and judicious financial planning, aiming to set a new standard for premium television series.

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