The Queen’s Gambit co-creator Scott Frank is heading back to the 1960s. Clive Owen is set to star in Monsieur Spade, a one-hour drama series from Frank and City On a Hill showrunner Tom Fontana, which is currently being pitched, generating a lot of interest from buyers, Deadline has learned.
The predominantly French language series will be produced by French production company Haut et Court (The Returned, The Young Pope) and will be shot entirely on location in France. It is being eyed as an international co-production with a premium cable network or streamer.
Co-written by Frank and Fontana and to be directed by Frank, Monsieur Spade centers around writer Dashiell Hammett’s great detective, Sam Spade, played by Owen, who has been quietly living out his golden years in the small town of Bozuls in the South of France. It’s 1963, the Algerian War has just ended, and in a very short time, so, too, will Spade’s tranquility.
Spade is a fictional character and the protagonist of Hammett’s 1930 novel, The Maltese Falcon. Spade also appeared in four lesser-known short stories by Hammett. Frank and Fontana executive produce with Carlo Martinelli and David Helpern.
Frank, who will direct all episodes, has mentioned Monsieur Spade in awards campaign interviews for The Queen’s Gambit. He wrote, directed and executive produced Netflix’s global hit limited series, which won two Golden Globes, including Best Limited Series or TV Movie. He previously wrote, directed and executive produced Netflix’s Emmy-winning limited series Godless, He received DGA Award nominations for both The Queen’s Gambit and Godless. Frank was nominated for an Academy Award and WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Logan, and also received an Oscar nomination and won the WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, among other honors, for Out of Sight. He currently is developing an adaptation of Mary Doria Russell’s 1996 novel The Sparrow for FX.
Three-time Emmy winner Fontana has written and produced such television series including NBC’s St. Elsewhere and Homicide: Life on The Street, HBO’s Oz, BBC America’s Copper and Netflix’s Borgia. He created Oz and Borgias and co-created several other series, including Copper. Fontana, a four-time WGA Award winner, is currently executive producer and showrunner on the Showtime drama City On A Hill.
Owen starred in and executive produced Steven Soderbergh’s The Knick for Cinemax, a role which earned him a Golden Globe nomination. He recently wrapped production on AppleTV+’s Lisey’s Story, an eight-hour limited series is written and executive produced by Stephen King, in which he stars opposite Julianne Moore. He is currently in production on Impeachment: American Crime Story, starring as Bill Clinton in the third installment of FX’s award-winning limited series franchise about the sex scandal that rocked the Clinton presidency.
Haut et Court’s television department produced Les Revenants (The Returned), Canal+’s, highest-rated original drama ever. The company also co-produced The Pope with Jude Law, for Sky Europe, Canal+ and HBO. Season 2, The New Pope, was presented at the 2019 Venice Film Festival and released early 2020.