Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy will play "Marco Polo" for Netflix. (Handout )
Netflix is going around the world for its next original series. The streaming service and the Weinstein Company announced Tuesday that production has begun on "Marco Polo."
Based on the life of the 13th century adventurer Marco Polo, the 10-episode series will film on location in Italy, Kazakhstan and the new Pinewood Studios in Malaysia. Netflix plans to premiere the series later this year.
And if you believe Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, it's going to be epic.
"Television audiences today are more discerning than ever before both in terms of character and the scope of the worlds those characters live in. We are proud to present a series that rivals some of the most successful films we've ever made," Weinstein says in a press release. "Marco Polo is a figure all have heard of, but few truly know, and we are excited to introduce him to the world. And we are shooting all over the world ... This is spectacle in the truest sense of the word."
Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy will play Polo, leading an international cast that includes Benedict Wong, Zhu Zhu, Tom Wu, Remy Hii and Rick Yune.
"The famed explorer's journey takes him to the center of a brutal war in 13th century China, a world replete with exotic martial arts, political skullduggery, spectacular battles and sexual intrigue," a press release states.
Creator John Fusco ("Forbidden Kingdom," "Young Guns," ""Hidalgo") and Harvey Weinstein will serve as executive producers. Dan Minahan ("Game of Thrones, "True Blood") will serve as executive producer and will direct two episodes. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg ("Kon Tiki," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales") will direct the season's first two episodes. Patrick MacManus will serve as co-executive producer. Collin Creighton will produce on behalf of The Weinstein Company.
More about cast members:
Born in Liguria in 1990, Lorenzo Richelmy moved to Rome in 1994 where his acting debut was in a theatrical performance at the age of 8. In 2002, his career launched with the film "il pranzo della domenica" and in 2007 his TV performances included "I liceali" directed by Lucio Pellegrini. In 2008 he was awarded Best Upcoming Personality by the Italian Tourist Department. Lorenzo attended CSC, the top drama school in Italy, as the youngest student ever admitted. In 2010 he starred in the film "Fat Cat," where he was nominated for Best Actor at the International Film Festival in Bruxelles, as well as three other festivals in California. In 2012 Lorenzo was cast as the lead in "Terra e vento" directed by Sebastian Maulucci as well as starring in "Terzo tempo," produced by Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (CSC ) where it went on to the Venice Film Festival. Lorenzo also received an award dedicated to a young talent by the Maremetraggio Film Festival. In 2014 Lorenzo starred in Carlo Verdone's successful comedy "Sotto una buona stella" along with Paola Cortellesi, Carlo Verdone and Tea Falco.
Benedict Wong's acting career is comprised of performances in film, television and theater. Benedict has appeared in films including "Hummingbird," "Kick Ass 2," "Prometheus," "Johnny English Reborn," "The Lady," "Moon," "Shanghai," "Largo Winch," "Grown Your Own," "Sunshine," "A Cock And Bull Story," "On A Clear Day," "Tristram Shandy," "Code 46," "Dirty Pretty Things," "Spygame," "Wit," "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. His TV appearances include "Hong Kong Cracker," "Arabian Nights," "TLC," "15 Storeys High," "State of Play," "The Eleventh Hour," "Frankenstein," "The IT Crowd," "Spooks," "Spiritwarriors," "Law and Order," "Top Boy Series 1&2," "Covert Affairs," "Run," "The Wrong Mans" and "Prey." He also has performed in many theatrical plays.
This Beijing native (whose name is pronounced "juju") first caught the public's eye as a host of MTV in China. She made her big screen debut in the Chinese remake of "What Women Want." She made her first appearances in English language movies with "Cloud Atlas" and in the RZA-helmed "The Man with the Iron Fists." She has recently appeared in the bilingual film "Shanghai Calling," and followed that up with a leading role in the contemporary love story "Secret Sharer."