“The Head,” The Mediapro Studio’s biggest hit, will have a third season, Ran Tellem, TMS head of international content development, confirmed Tuesday at Iberseries & Industria Platino.
“‘The Head’ started out something like four years ago as a limited series only for six episodes and now it’s going into third season, so you might say we never lived up to our promises,” Tellem joked on stage at an early Iberseries panel, entitled Creative Content Strategies, where he shared the stage with former Netflix international head Erik Barmack, now at L.A.-based Wild Sheep Content.
The Mediapro Studio will produce ‘The Head,’ Season 3 out of Spain. Beyond that, Tellem gave few details. The series is being written by writers from four countries in three different continents.
“What we do each season in order to keep the show advancing and evolving is to change the team of writers, Tellem commented. Otherwise ever one working on the series is Spanish, he added.
The other stellar exception to that is the cast. Tellem screened a short sequence from “The Head,” Season 2 which featured actors from Germany, France, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and China, all reacting to the discovery of a dead body, speaking English with accents.
“We had actors from more than 10 countries in Season 2, and we’re going the same direction in Season 3. Some years ago people used to refer to this as Europudding and we would like to look at it as Europe, haute cuisine. We’re doing exactly the opposite. You have the ability to pick the best actor from each country and it’s much easier in the world today.
“The Head” has nearly sold out worldwide, licensed to over 100 countries, Tellem said.
“‘The Head’ is a very rare example in the world of content creation of high-quality English-speaking drama that is not produced in the U.S. or U.K.,” said Tellem.
“Our role is to create high quality productions in English to be produced in Europe. So what we’re trying to do is create shows that go up on Canal+ in France or Hulu in Japan whose viewers have no idea that the shows actually Spanish produced.”
“We can produce shows here differently to Americans and Brits. First of all, they cost much less, but regarding quality, there’s something about European writing and European creation which is different. We are telling stories in different ways,” he concluded.
Tellem also sneak peeked a teaser trailer for The Young Poe.” Which sees The Mediapro Studio team with Spanish director Jorge Dorado and author Cuca Canals on a detective thriller in a bid to build a second English-language international franchise.
Enrolling one of the biggest IPs in literary history, Edgar Allen Poe, the series adapts the hit novel saga of Spain’s Cuca Canals.
Canals’ novels imagine Poe as a precocious, irrepressible, neurotic and highly Gothic 11 or 12 year-old in 1820 Boston, grounding in true events of Poe’s childhood the extraordinarily analytical and morbid mind which Edgar Allen Poe brings to his fiction – such as 1841’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” commonly regarded as the first modern detective story.
“Nobody is from 1820 Boston. People come from Spain, Germany, Japan, Korea, all over the world. It’s a global city where life is invented and detective and police work is invented,” Tellem said in Madrid, adding the series is about “family, truth and life.”
Launched in 2020, after Barmack ankled as Netflix vice-president of international original in 2019, over the last three years Wild Sheep Content has gotten 16 projects greenlit in 11 different markets, working in France, Sweden, Scotland, Ireland, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Japan, India and the U.S.
Some of these shows are now coming to fruition, such as Harlan Coben’s “Shelter,” released on Prime Video in August, and J.M. Cravioto’s Spanish-language “A Deadly Invitation,” with Mexico’s Regina Blandón, Spain’s Maribel Verdú, Colombia’s Manolo Cardona, and Peru’s Stephanie Cayo, which Netflix makes available this Friday.
Both shows are based on IPs, “A Deadly Invitation” adapts a novel by Spain’s Carmen Posadas, but was made in Mexico.
“When you have a poppy genre like a murder mystery and the story is well crafted, which you have in a book, then you can really attract amazing talent,” Barmack said.
“We like murder. We like detective stories. We’re a very commercial company and in certain markets, it’s hard to find murder mysteries. There’s not like a super big tradition of that in Mexico. Part of it is from my Netflix days and part of it is intuition, that an audience loves Agatha Christie type stories.
Barmack said that 80%-85% of his projects are based on books or video games. That suggested a larger business opportunity, Barmack argued.
“I’ve been reviewing projects for MIA Market in Rome and other events and been looking at a couple hundred projects over the last two months, and of them three were based on books.
If you look at the history of Hollywood, 50%, 60%, maybe 70% of the stories are based on books or IP or games,” he added.
“There’s a big gap between how Europe thinks about developing television and and the Hollywood system. There’s just tremendous opportunities now as the market’s tightening to find source IP where, you know, there’s an installed audience. which is why we’re working on things like Sega video game or Camilla Läckberg‘s works here or Harlan Coben. I think there’s really big opportunities for adaptation now.”
What territories are emerging for Barmack ?
“We’re doing a show in Japan that’s an action adventure show based on a big video game. And it was one of the pleasures of my life. I think there’s so much opportunity in Asia to do more. The same with India. We did a show with Amazon that’s it’s about a big hip hop artist there,”
“I’m super, super motivated to do more work in Asia and in the Middle East as well. Basically opportunities where the cultures are different enough to create like massive impact. If you’re doing something kind of brash.”
TMS has invited in Wild Sheep Content.