Paramount+ has teamed up with Italian and German public broadcasters RAI and ZDF on Italian Indigo Film’s coming-of-age television series “The Gymnasts” (“The Great Beauty”) which will be directed by Cosima Spender ( “Palio”) and Valerio Bonelli.
Also on board as a key partner of ‘The Gymnasts’ – which was recently featured during Series Mania’s co-pro pitch sessions – is London-based super-indie All3Media International, which will handle the international sales of the broadcast in territories not covered by its main broadcasters.
The project is part of The Alliance, the production pact forged between mainland European public broadcasters to co-finance high-profile, innovative TV series for the international market.
But, in an interesting twist, “The Gymnasts” will premiere as a Paramount+ Original in Italy and across France, the UK, Canada, Australia, Latin America and South Korea.
Based on the best-selling novel “Corpo Libero” by Italian author Ilaria Bernardini, the six-episode series revolves around a team of elite teenage gymnasts engaged in international competition high in the snow-capped Italian Alps.
In what is the most important week of their lives, rivalries are fierce and relationships become complex as young athletes compete for a chance to make the Olympic team. Tensions and obsessions escalate until it is revealed that one of the contestants is dead and the police suspect a murder.
In the United Kingdom, a translated version of the novel should be published at the beginning of August under the title “The Girls are Good”, following the acquisition of the world rights by HarperCollins (outside Italy). The book will also be published in the United States and Canada in 2023.
“The Gymnasts” will mark the first fiction project directed by Cosima Spender, who has directed high-profile documentaries such as “Palio,” which went to Sundance, and Netflix’s first Italian documentary series “SanPa: Sins of the Savior. “, on controversial topics. the founder of the rehab Vincenzo Muccioli who caused a stir in Italy.
She will co-direct the series with her partner, Valerio Bonelli, an A-list publisher whose publishing credits include “SanPa: Sins of the Savior”, “The Martian” and “Black Mirror”.
The show’s writing team includes Chiara Barzini (“Arianna”) and Bernardini who wrote the novel, Ludovica Rampoldi (“Gomorrah”) and Giordana Mari (“1993”).
“The theme of the changing adolescent body through the lens of a thriller fascinated us,” the show’s co-directors said in a statement.
They also noted that each character in the story “manifests a reaction to the pressures of the sport, which often pushes the dynamic between them into a toxic realm.”
Indigo Film partners Carlotta Calori, Francesca Cima and Nicola Giuliano added that the show’s protagonists “are at this delicate time in their lives where the line between childhood and adolescence is paper thin. , especially for a gymnast who knows well that growing up means finishing flying and perceive their body as a cage.
RAI is the main Italian production partner for “The Gymnasts”, which will air on RAI in Italy approximately one year after its premiere in the country exclusively on Paramount+ in 2022.
In Germany, the show will instead launch on ZDF’s ZDFneo streaming service as a ZDFneo original in 2023.
The series is co-produced by RAI Fiction with ZDF’s Network Movie unit. All3Media International also takes an associate producer credit.
The head of RAI Fiction, Maria Pia Ammirati, underlined in a press release that “”The Gymnasts” is a series which, together with ZDFneo and within the framework of the European Alliance, unites RAI with Indigo Film, Network Movie, All3Media and the new Paramount + platform.”
“We are proud to join forces with our prestigious partners and friends to present ‘The Gymnasts’ as a ‘neoriginal’ on ZDFneo,” said ZDF’s senior vice president of international drama, co-production and acquisitions.
She added that the show proves “once again that Europe is a melting pot; a young and exciting continent with many extraordinary stories to tell. No wonder this is a project developed and commissioned by the European Alliance.