Netflix Sets Julian Fellowes-Penned Soccer Drama, German Event Series ‘The Wave’ & More

Tom Keller

Busy Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes is joining with Netflix and London- and LA-based 42 on a new series about the invention of modern football (soccer). The news emerged at Netflix’s See What’s Next event in Rome on Wednesday morning and was among a host of new projects announced.

Netflix VP of International Originals Erik Barmack said the football project (aka The English Game) will be penned by Fellowes and examine how the game reached across class divides to create the world’s most popular sport.

Also new, German series The Wave will be based on the 2008 box office hit Die Welle. The original film was directed by Dennis Gansel and grossed about $24M locally. It centered on a high school teacher’s experiment to demonstrate to his students what life is like under a dictatorship that spins horribly out of control when he forms a social unit with a life of its own. Sony Pictures Television Germany is among the producing partners.

Among other new projects is Netflix’s first original from the Netherlands. Set in Amsterdam and eyed for 2019, the story focuses on Dutch students “who have it all” and “open a portal to a demonic world from the Dutch golden age,” Barmack explained before adding, “I hate it when that happens.” Pupkin Film is producing.

In France, Netflix is prepping Mortel, from creator Frédéric Garcia. It’s the story of teenagers bound together by a supernatural force. From Italy, period series Luna Nera, about women suspected of witchcraft, will be produced with Fandango.

Barmack also said that Thomas Vincent (Marseille, The Tunnel) will direct the first two episodes of its French original, Osmosis. The sci-fi romance drama hails from the folks behind The Revenants and Versailles.

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