Montreal-based Also Productions, the rising premium outfit behind the Series Mania title “Disobey” and the popular police drama “The Sketch Artist,” will next hit international waters with the facts-are-stranger-than-fiction geopolitical thriller “Chain Reaction.”
Based on the best-selling book from investigative journalist Vincent Larouche, the development project will untangle a multinational web that connected Quebecois businessmen to Swiss bankers to FBI agents to former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, telling the unbelievable true story of a corruption scandal that nearly brought down the Canadian government.
“The Sketch Artist” head writer André Gulluni will freely adapt Larouche’s page-turning exposé, which revealed the misdoings of SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal-based construction company alleged to have bribed and defrauded the Libyan government out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The ensuing (and cascading) financial scandal would soon rope in everyone from top politicos to Texas-based associates of Pablo Escobar.
“They were excellent at what they did,” reads the book description. “[From] hiring mercenaries, to prostitution, bribes, forged documents, or cooked books — for some SNC-Lavalin executives, anything went when it came to winning a contract.”
Envisioned as an eight-part ensemble drama, this loose adaptation will keep the broad strokes (and larger than life characters – including Gaddafi himself) of the source text while opening the narrative to international collaboration.
“The storyline could take place anywhere in the world,” says Also co-founder Sophie Lorain. “The name of the company is totally unimportant. What’s fun and thrilling is how the story reverberated around the world, revealing fraud at every level of the global banking system. It’s hilarious, and at the same time, very serious.”
Now looking for co-production partners, the multilingual project marks an ambitious step forward for the Quebecois outfit, which will also present the disaster docudrama “Mégantic” as part of a Coming Next from Quebec showcase at this year’s Series Mania.
As with the legal thriller “Disobey,” which is competing in the festival’s International Panorama section, “Mégantic” pulls from recent Quebec history, focusing on the shared grief of a town that experienced a devastating rail-disaster-turned-oil-spill in 2013. Both series are directed by Also co-founder Alexis Durand-Brault, and both have topped local streaming charts ahead of their international berths at Series Mania.
“We thrive on very specific projects,” says Lorain, who launched Also Productions in 2019. “We choose them very carefully and we give them a personal touch so that people can recognize our signatures. And I think that’s allowed us to quickly find our path.”