EXCLUSIVE: Disney+’s new international streaming service Star has commissioned a mafia series, penned by The Last Kingdom and Baghdad Central scribe Stephen Butchard and co-produced by two high-profile outfits in the UK and Italy.
Exclusively revealed by Deadline today, The Good Mothers forms part Disney+ and Star’s first European originals slate, and promises to tell the story of how Italian mob bosses were targeted by prosecutors through their wives and daughters.
The six-part series is made by Brexit: The Uncivil War producer House Productions and Wildside, the Fremantle-backed Italian producer behind HBO’s We Are Who We Are. It is based on a book of the same name by award-winning journalist Alex Perry.
The Good Mothers tells the true story of how three courageous women inside the notorious Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta mafia worked with newly-minted female prosecutor, Alessandra Cerreti, to bring down down the criminal empire.
Deadline hears that the project was first brought to Disney by House Productions in the UK, but the Mouse House wanted to tell the story in the most authentic way possible, so paired the company up with Wildside, which is also behind My Brilliant Friend.
It meant the drama went from originally being an English-language series, to now being produced in Italian. Butchard has written pilot scripts, but must pen the remainder of the series before production can begin. Executive producers are Juliette Howell and Tessa Ross for House Productions, and Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarossa for Wildside.
Howell said The Good Mothers is a convention-busting mafia story that retains all the gripping elements of a gangster saga. She told Deadline: “Stephen has written beautifully crafted scripts which don’t celebrate or glorify male violence, and don’t focus on the more operational detail of a global crime syndicate.
“The Good Mothers tells us about the women, not as accessories, but as fully rounded characters in their own right; as wives, mothers and daughters who show grit, determination, and astounding courage in the face of the murderous misogyny of their husbands, fathers, and brothers. It is an intimate and authentic emotional thriller that gives these women and their children a voice.”
The Good Mothers is one of three Italian originals unveiled by Disney+ as part of its European launch. The other two are Ignorant Angels, an eight-part romantic drama inspired by the 2001 Italian box office hit Le Fate Ignoranti, and a new season of Fox Networks Group’s show-within-a-show series, Boris. The series were commissioned by Diego Londono, Disney’s EVP of media networks and content in EMEA, and Liam Keelan, VP of original content in the region.
House Productions is enjoying something of a purple patch right now. It is making Quiz writer James Graham’s latest series, the BBC drama Sherwood, as well as adapting Kate Atkinson’s best-selling and award-winning novel Life After Life for the British broadcaster. The company has also partnered with Netflix on an adaptation of Stuart Turton’s murder mystery The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. Sophie Petzal is penning the seven-part series.