Brow Beat

Mamma Mia! It’s an Italian Netflix Series About the Mafia!

The trailer for Suburra was released Saturday, and it looks like Netflix’s first Italian co-production will give audiences a taste of the seedy side of greater Rome, authentic enough to include not only dialect, but also that horrible fake-granite-and-blacklight club décor. The ten-episode series has a pure enough Italian lineage to be a made man: it was co-produced by the RAI and Italian independent production company Cattleya, from a novel by journalists Carlo Bonini and journalist (and judge!) Giancarlo de Cataldo—available in translation—about a Mafia plan to turn Ostia into a new Las Vegas. Cattleya already turned the book into a feature film directed by Stefano Sollima; here’s what that looked like:

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Sollima made his name directing the TV adaptation of Gomorrah, based on a book by journalist Roberto Saviano: like Suburra, it was also adapted into a feature film first, by director Matteo Garrone. So which director of the TV adaptation of Suburra will direct the feature adaptation of the next big Italian book about the mafia? The IMDb lists three directors over Suburra’s run, but one of them, Michele Placido, doesn’t need to use the show as a launch pad. He’s already made a few mafia features: Renato Vallanzasca biopic Angel of Evil (from a book co-written by the co-writer of Suburra, Carlo Bonini) and Romanzo Criminale (from a book by the other co-writer of Suburra, Giancarlo de Cataldo, later—you guessed it—turned into a TV series). That leaves Andrea Molaioli—director of the Italian adaptation of Nick Hornby’s YA novel Slam (moved from London to Rome and retitled Slam: Tutto Per Una Ragazza)—and Giuseppe Capotondi, who’s directed a couple of episodes of Berlin Station and speed dating crime thriller The Double Hour. Our money’s on Capotondi, whose work so far is more crime-adjacent (and whose name has “capo” in it), but in the insular, violent world of Italian-made television adaptations of books by Italian journalists about the Italian mafia that have already been made into Italian feature films, anything can happen.

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