The drama revolving around the making of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1972 erotic film Last Tango in Paris will be the subject of a new limited series from Entourage and Boston Public writers Jeremy Miller and Daniel Cohn.
Part of the first-look agreement between CBS Studios and Stampede Ventures, Tango will span the 18 months before, during, and after the film’s production. The story will be told through the lens of the film’s stars, Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, as well as Bertolucci, and is said to explore themes of identity, fame, and artistic ambition.
Controversy surrounds the film for its inclusion of a rape scene, which Schneider later claimed was not consensual and not in the original script. “I felt humiliated, and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci,” Schneider told the Daily Mail in 2007.
The series, set in Italy, France, and the U.S., will begin with Bertolucci traveling to Los Angeles to convince a broken-down and bankrupt Brando to take a role in his upcoming film before examining the controversies of the production itself.
Lisa Brühlmann (Killing Eve) and José Padilha (Narcos) are set to direct the series, while Greg Silverman and J.P. Sarni of Stampede Ventures will executive produce. Meghan Lyvers, senior VP of international co-productions and development at CBS Studios, will oversee the project for the studio.
“When José and Stampede approached me, I was instantly taken by the project and the chance to look closer at one of the biggest scandals of our industry’s history — despite it not being treated as such at the time,” said Brühlmann. “The opportunity to dive into that world, into all these fascinating characters, and especially the possibility of giving Maria Schneider a voice, is really exciting.”
Padilha added: “The director and the actors basked in success, while Maria’s pain was neglected. I’m thrilled to explore a story about the ethics of art, an important but often neglected subject matter, in partnership with director Lisa Brühlmann.”
Last Tango in Paris became one of the highest-grossing foreign films of all time, and Brando and Bertolucci received critical acclaim, with Oscar nominations for best actor and best director, respectively. Schneider, who died in 2011 after a battle with cancer, struggled with mental health and addiction following her part in the film.