Paul Verhoeven Planning ‘Bel Ami’ Series With ‘Elle’ Producer & ‘Black Book’ Scribe

Paul Verhoeven
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Paul Verhoeven is lining up a French-language series based on Guy de Maupassant’s classic novel Bel Ami, according to producer Saïd Ben Saïd.

Verhoeven will serve as showrunner and director of all eight episodes of the series, which will be a contemporary adaptation of the novel set in the TV world. It is being written by Dutch screenwriter Gerard Soeteman, who previously collaborated with Verhoeven on features including Black Book and Turkish Delight. 

Producer Ben Saïd, whose credits include Verhoeven’s Oscar-nominated Elle, told Deadline that a broadcaster for the series was “under discussion.” The project is aiming to shoot summer 2021 in France.

Ben Saïd also confirmed that Benedetta, Verhoeven’s upcoming erotic feature about a 17th century nun who suffers from disturbing religious visions, has pushed back its planned release to 2021. The film had been widely tipped for a bow at Cannes 2020 before the festival was forced to change plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, the new date of May 2021 in France (via local outfit Pathe) makes it almost certain for a Cannes 2021 berth.

Bel Ami was previously adapted into a feature starring Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, and Kristin Scott Thomas back in 2012. It chronicles a journalist’s corrupt rise to power, becoming one of the most successful men in Paris by manipulating a series of wealthy women.

Verhoeven’s project marks a return to the small screen for the Robocop director, who has largely focused on features since helming TV episodes in his native Netherlands in the 1970s and ’80s. He also served as executive producer on 39 episodes of spin-off series Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles at the turn of the millennium.

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