Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ioan Gruffudd Leads ‘The Reunion,’ Adaptation of French Bestseller, From MGM International TV Productions (EXCLUSIVE)

“The Reunion,” the French Riviera-set series adapted from Guillaume Musso’s bestselling novel “La Jeune Fille et la Nuit,” has started shooting on location in the south of France with an international cast headlined by Ioan Gruffudd (“Fantastic Four”), Ivanna Sakhno (“Pacific Rim Uprising”) and Grégory Fitoussi (“Spiral”).

Directed by Bill Eagles (“Beautiful Creatures,” “12 Monkeys”), the English-language series is produced by Sydney Gallonde at Make It Happen Studio (“No Second Chance”), and co-produced by MGM International TV Productions and public broadcaster France Televisions.

Marston Bloom (“Selection Day,” “Marcella”) penned the adaptation of Musso’s hit novel, which was published by Calmann-Lévy in 2018 and has sold more than two million copies worldwide in more than 35 languages. The story opens in the present day, at a high school reunion in the south of France where three former friends reconnect. They grew apart and lost touch, but they are still bound by a tragic secret tied to the disappearance of a high school girl who went missing 25 years ago in the region.

MGM International TV Productions is handling global distribution on the six-part series whose cast is completed by Shemss Audat, Vahina Giocante, Dervla Kirwan, Rupert Graves and Salóme Gunnarrsdóttir.

The show marks the first audiovisual adaptation of a novel by Musso, who ranked as France’s most popular author for the 10th consecutive year in 2021, based on the number of books he has sold, according to global market intelligence firm GFK. Another novel by Musso, “Et apres…,” was previously adapted for the movie “Afterwards,” with John Malkovich, Evangeline Lilly and Romain Duris.

Gallonde is a leading TV producer in France with a track record in modern thriller adaptations, having previously worked with American author Harlan Coben on “No Second Chance” and “Just One Look,” which were critically praised and traveled worldwide.

Both novels were adapted into French-language shows, whereas “The Reunion” is shooting in English, based on a French book. “This novel is important for Guillaume Musso because it takes place in his region, where he has a lot of personal anecdotes, and it’s important for me as well because I want to show that as French creatives, we can deliver upscale series that are as compelling and well-made as series that we watch on streaming services,” said Gallonde, who supervised the adaptation of the novel and worked closely with Bloom and Eagles.

“The Reunion” marks the first collaboration between Make It Happen Studio and MGM International TV Productions, and forms part of a multi-year deal between the two companies.

“What makes me proud today is to be able to [say] that I’m the French representative of MGM, and on this project I brought together talents who would never have come on board on this project without MGM’s involvement,” says Gallonde, who is also working with the executive producer William Pruss, whose credits include “Dunkirk” and “Mission Impossible.”

Musso said he received many offers over the years to adapt his novels into series but none of the projects matched the ambition of “The Reunion.”

“It’s a story with a large enough canvas in which a flurry of characters evolve over 25 years,” said Musso, adding that “having a spectacular and cinematic local backdrop such as the French Riviera” will make the series appealing to audiences around the world.

Musso also says shooting the series in English was a “logical choice” as “the story in the novel mainly unfolds on the campus of an international high school where students from many different nationalities talk to each other in English.”

“It was a very motivating challenge to aggregate international talent to this project; my novels are translated in 45 languages in the whole world and I like this idea that I participate to the export of French culture. I’ve always favored adaptation projects that have an international dimension,” said Musso, citing “Afterwards.”

“The Reunion” will shoot until Nov. 23 in Antibes, near Cannes, and its surroundings. The series will premiere in France on France Televisions, as well as in Italy (RAI) and Germany (ZDF) as part of the Alliance, a pan-European broadcasters’ initiative aimed at co-financing international co-productions.


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