Netflix has ordered Monarca, an original drama series from Mexico produced by Salma Hayek’s Ventanarosa Productions, Lemon Studios and Michael McDonald’s Stearns Castle. Irene Azuela (Quemar las Naves) and Juan Manuel Bernal (Capadocia) are attached to star, and production is scheduled to begin in the fall for a 2019 global premiere.

Created by Diego Gutierrez, who also serves as showrunner, and written by Lemon Studios’ Fernando Rovzar, Julia Denis, Ana Sofia Clerici and Sandra García Velten, Monarca will follow the world of wealthy Mexican elites riddled by corruption, scandal and violence. Set in the powerful world of Mexican billionaires, Monarca is a high stakes, multi-generational family saga about a tequila-born Mexican business empire, and the battle that ensues when a member of the family decides to fight the dirty system her family helped create.

“I’m extremely excited to partner with Netflix, and to be working with amazing Mexican talent in front of and behind the camera. We are proud to show Mexico as a vibrant, sophisticated and culturally rich nation, fighting to control its own destiny,” said Hayek.

Netflix
Netflix

“Mexico is a top priority for us in which to continue to develop series,” said Erik Barmack, VP International Originals, “and we look forward to bringing the best originals to the world through partnerships with key players such as Ventanarosa and Lemon Studios.”

Added Gutierrez: “This is the definition of a passion project for me. Having been born and raised in Mexico, I’m humbled to have the opportunity to tell this story with Netflix and the incredibly talented team of people we’re assembling, both in the U.S. and Mexico.”

Ventanarosa produced Frida, which earned Hayek nominations for an Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA. Its other titles include Emmy and Golden Globe winner Ugly Betty, animated film Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, The Maldonado Miracle, El coronel no tiene quien le escriba and In the Time of the Butterflies. Ventanarosa is repped by CAA.

Mexico’s Lemon Studios, founded by Billy and Fernando Rovzar, has produced 15 feature films and 12 television series. It won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival for Después de Lucía and an International Emmy Award for the third season of Sr. Ávila for HBO Latin America. Lemon Studios’ other titles include Matando Cabos, Kilometer 31, Saving Private Perez, Paramédicos, La Piloto, La Bella y las Bestias among others.

Stearns Castle’s producing credits include ABC series American Crime and Showtime limited series Guerrilla, starring Idris Elba and Freida Pinto.