Fresh off the news that Paul Verhoeven’s new film, “Benedetta,” is skipping the film festivals in 2020 for a May 2021 release date, due to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the Cannes Film Festival, it appears that the filmmaker is already lining up his next project, an adaptation of the classic novel “Bel Ami,” which will bring him back to the world of TV.
Producer Saïd Ben Saïd announced the news on Twitter, writing, “Paul Verhoeven is set to take on a series adaptation of the classic French novel « Bel Ami ». He will serve as a showrunner and direct the entire series (8 episodes) in French language. Gerard Soeteman (Black book, flesh and blood, Spetters, etc) has written the 8 episodes.” He further explained in another tweet that each episode of the series will clock in around 52 minutes.
And though this isn’t coming from Verhoeven or a trade outlet, Saïd Ben Saïd would likely be someone who definitely knows what’s going on with the filmmaker, as they have collaborated on numerous films, including the upcoming drama “Benedetta.”
“Bel Ami” is based on the novel by French author Guy de Maupassant. The book tells the story of journalist Georges Duroy’s rise to power from a French soldier in the African colonies in the 19th century to one of the most powerful men in Paris.
Verhoeven isn’t a stranger to TV productions, having helmed a few in his career, but “Bel Ami” would be the first series for the filmmaker for decades, dating back to an episode of “Deadly Nightmares” in 1986. More recently, Verhoeven has worked on films such as “Elle” and “Tricked.”
“Bel Ami” has been adapted numerous times into films and TV series. The most recent attempt was in 2012 with a film starring Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Christina Ricci.
It’s obviously unclear when we might see “Bel Ami” arrive on TV screens, or even what platform or network will distribute the series.