Casanova chronicles a little-known period in the life of one of world history’s most famous libertines and playboys. After Giacomo Casanova’s wicked escapades run afoul with the inquisitors in his native Venice, he is sent to prison. The drama focuses on what happens next –– after escaping, the once-materialistic and womanizing Casanova moves to Paris with nothing, determined to start his life over.
There he met with royalties and luminaries, introduced the state lottery — which made him rich — and traveled. Casanova’s memoir, which he wrote in French, is considered one of the most important testaments of 18th century European customs and norms.
Silverman, who has produced period dramas The Tudors on Showtime and Marco Polo on Netflix, approached Zicherman about doing a Casanova series. Zicherman admits he wasn’t keen on the idea originally because “I thought I knew everything there was to know about Casanova.” That is until he did more research and found out about the prison break and 18-year exile. “I thought the whole idea of Casanova living in exile in Paris was great,” he said.
Zicherman called Casanova “misunderstood.” “He was not a Don Juan, he never was the greatest lover going for notches on his bedposts. He loved women deeply, finding something to love about each of them — how she laughed, how she smelled, how the hair fell on her shoulders. He also was a great writer, a musician. He was very studious and was interested in Kabbalah, dark arts and mysticism.”
Above all, “he was a very modern man, a person who wanted his senses heightened at all time,” said Zicherman, who wrote the script and is executive producing with Silverman. Portions of the pilot will be filmed in and around Paris, which also was the location for Amazon’s 2014 expat comedy pilot The Cosmopolitans by Whit Stillman.
This will mark the latest screen interpretation of Casanova, who has been portrayed through the years by such actors as Vittorio Gassman, Donald Sutherland, Marcello Mastroianni, Richard Chamberlain, Heath Ledger and David Tennant.
In addition to Casanova, Zicherman, repped by WME and Mosaic, has a romantic comedy in the works at Showtime with Jason Katims’ True Jack. The Six Degrees co-creator also recently wrote and directed the Adam Scott/Amy Poehler comedy movie A.C.O.D..
In addition to Marco Polo, just renewed for a second season, Silverman executive produces the CW’s Jane The Virgin, also recently picked up for Season 2, and the recently ordered Will Arnett Netflix comedy series Flaked.
Amazon is currently streaming the six pilots from its first 2015 pilot season: Mad Dogs from Cris Cole and Shawn Ryan, The Man In The High Castle from Frank Spotnitz, Point Of Honor from Carlton Cuse and Randall Wallace, Cocked from Sam Baum and Sam Shaw, Down Dog from Robin Schif and Salem Rogers from Lindsey Stoddart.