Ronin and Californication star Natascha McElhone is to headline a period drama set on the Italian Riviera, which has pre-sold to ITV/BritBox (UK), Sky Italia (Italy), and Foxtel (Australia). Titled Hotel Portofino, PBS Distribution has taken North American rights.
Eagle Eye Drama, founded by the team behind foreign-language streamer Walter Presents, houses the project. Production has commenced in Italy and Croatia on the show, which also stars Mark Umbers (Home Fires) and Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral).
Hotel Portofino features McElhone as Bella Ainsworth, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist who moves to Italy to set up a quintessentially British hotel in the town of Portofino. Umbers plays her charming but dangerous husband, Cecil, while Chancellor stars as Lady Latchmere, the hotel’s most influential but hard-to-please guest.
Created and written by former ViacomCBS international comms chief Matt Baker (Before We Die), the series features a classic ‘whodunit’ mystery woven throughout, as the characters go about their lives in 1920s Italy, when Benito Mussolini’s brand of fascism was on the rise.
Other cast includes Italian star Daniele Pecci (Orgoglio) as charismatic Count Carlo Albani, Lorenzo Richelmy (Marco Polo) as his son Roberto Albani, while Rocco Fasano (Skam Italia) takes on the role of anti-fascist activist Gianluca Vitali.
Hotel Portofino is directed by Adam Wimpenny (Blackwood), produced by Julie Baines (Four Kids and It), and executive produced by Eagle Eye’s Jo McGrath and Walter Iuzzolino. BetaFilm Group co-produces and is handling worldwide sales. Production service is provided by Drugiplan.
Eagle Eye CEO Iuzzolino said: “This is a hugely important and exciting new creative chapter for Eagle Eye; Hotel Portofino is our very first original series, from an idea which was developed in-house.”
Eagle Eye adapted Swedish crime thriller Before We Die for the UK’s Channel 4, while it also remade Belgian crime drama Professor T for BritBox/ITV. Both shows have premiered in recent weeks.