The thawing relations between U.S. and Cuba have led to a boom in American TV productions with ties to the Communist country. The latest is Havana Quartet — a drama series in development at Starz, which has Antonio Banderas attached to star. Starz CEO Chris Albrecht made the announcement at TCA today. The idea is to film the potential series in Cuba, Albrecht said.
Known Cuban playwright Eduardo Machado (Starz’s Magic City), who lives in the U.S., will write the project, based on the popular four-book series of detective novels “Havana Blue,” “Havana Gold,” “Havana Red” and “Havana Black” by another Cuban writer that is well known internationally, novelist Leonardo Padura. Entertainment One Television is producing and distributing worldwide, with Starz retaining all network pay TV and SVOD rights.
Havana Quartet follows hard-drinking, romantic Cuban Police Detective Mario Conde (Banderas) who longs to be a writer but settled for a job as a detective. The series is set in the 1990s “when the communist dream was starting to fray around the edges but there still was a lot of charm,” Albrecht said.
Machado and Spanish-born Banderas executive produce alongside Peter Nadermann of Nadcon Film, as well as Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny of Sienna Films.
“Partnering with eOne to develop the drama series Havana Quartet with international star Antonio Banderas will allow us to give viewers a premium show that highlights the decaying beauty of Cuba during its ‘Special Period’ – a time and place which tourists rarely got to experience,” Albrecht said.
Added Pancho Mansfield, President of Global Scripted Programming, eOne TV, “Havana Quartet is a series that captures both the romance and the underbelly of a country that has struck our collective curiosity and imagination for decades, and it was important for us to create a show that is authentic to Padura’s elegant, noir-tinged novels and to Cuba itself.”
Cuba was a main theme in Starz’s period drama Magic City which was set in 1959 Miami shortly after the Cuban Revolution. In addition to working with Starz on the period drama, Machado has a relationship with eOne, having done a stint as a writer on the company’s HBO comedy Hung. Banderas is repped by Paradigm.