Showtime Networks has ordered 10 episodes of a one-hour drama series based on the infamous Italian Renaissance family The Borgias, it was announced today by Robert Greenblatt, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc. Oscar®– winning actor Jeremy Irons will star in the epic drama series as Rodrigo Borgia, the cunning, manipulative patriarch of The Borgia family who ascends to the highest circles of power within Renaissance-era Italy. Additionally, Academy Award® winning director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) will create and executive produce the series as well as direct the first two episodes. Veteran film and television writer/producer Michael Hirst, who created, wrote and executive produced SHOWTIMEs original series The Tudors, will serve as executive producer/writer.
“Having blazed a trail with the award-winning THE TUDORS, we wanted to continue to offer our audience a period drama as wicked, witty, and utterly compelling — and that’s what THE BORGIAS will be,” said Greenblatt. “I can guarantee you’ve never seen a family quite like this before, nor could you make up the outrageous twists and turns of their epic saga if your life depended on it. The directorial mastery of Neil Jordan along with Michael Hirst’s flair for bringing historical dramas vividly to life for a contemporary audience will make THE BORGIAS unlike anything else on television.”
THE BORGIAS will be a complex, unvarnished portrait of one of historys most intriguing and infamous dynastic families. The series begins as the familys patriarch Rodrigo (Jeremy Irons), becomes Pope, propelling him, his two Machiavellian sons Cesare and Juan, and his scandalously beautiful daughter, Lucrezia, to become the most powerful and influential family of the Italian Renaissance. And all that power and influence eventually leads to their demise. As Machiavelli once said about his friends, the Borgias, “Politics have no relation to morals.”
Jeremy Irons is one of the most celebrated film, television and stage actors of the last thirty years. He has won the Academy Award® (Reversal of Fortune), a Tony Award® (The Real Thing), two Emmy Awards® (Elizabeth I, The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century), two Golden Globe®Awards (Elizabeth I, Reversal of Fortune) and a Screen Actors Guild Award® (Elizabeth I). His list of memorable films and television include; Brideshead Revisited, The Mission, Dead Ringers, Being Julia, The Merchant of Venice, Lolita, and Appaloosa. Last season he appeared on Broadway in Impressionism opposite Joan Allen. He is currently nominated for a Golden Globe and SAG Award for his performance in Georgia O’Keeffe.
The series will be produced as a Canadian-European Treaty co-production in a manner similar to the production of THE TUDORS. It will go into production this spring for a debut in early 2011.