The Hollywood studio will co-produce and distribute the eight-part limited series, which takes a fresh look at the life and legacy of the iconic artist Leonardo da Vinci, positing that he was a gay outsider who used his work as a way of hiding his true self.
This comes after The Good Doctor star Highmore boarded the series last month in an exec producer capacity via his Sony-aligned production company, Alfresco Pictures, as revealed by Deadline.
Each episode will examine one of da Vinci’s artworks for hidden clues about a tortured artist struggling for perfection. Highmore will play Stefano Giraldi, a fictional police detective who frames the narrative, investigating da Vinci as the suspect in a murder case and digging into his past. Aidan Turner (Poldark), will play da Vinci, Matilda de Angelis (The Undoing) stars as Caterina da Cremona and Giancarlo Giannini (Catch 22), rounds out the lead cast, in the role of Andrea del Verrocchio.
Italy’s Luxe Vide, Rai Fiction and Frank Spotnitz’s Big Light Productions produce the show for European broadcaster co-production group The Alliance, which is formed of pubcasters RAI in Italy, France Televisions and ZDF in Germany. Filming is underway in Rome on the series, which was created by The Man in the High Castle and The X-Files’ Spotnitz and Steve Thompson (Sherlock) and is directed by Daniel Percival (The Man in the High Castle).
“While da Vinci made his name in Florence, people everywhere feel he is somehow a part of their story,” said Brendan Fitzgerald, SVP International Co-Productions, Sony Pictures Television. “Together with RAI Fiction, Lux Vide, and Big Light Productions, we hope to tap into this and tell a story that remains true to its Italian origin and resonates the world over.”
Frank Spotnitz, Executive Producer and CEO of Big Light Productions added; “The genius of Leonardo da Vinci remains deeply inspiring, which is why we’ve been able to attract such an incredible team, with Aidan, Freddie, Matilda and Giancarlo headlining the cast, and Sony Pictures Television coming onboard to bring us the greatest broadcast partners around the world. I couldn’t imagine better collaborators with whom to tell this story.”