Netflix Period Soap ‘The Decameron’ Starts Shooting at Cinecittà

Shooting on Netflix’s “The Decameron” has kicked off at Rome’s Cinecittà Studios, where the lavish period soap will be based for the next six months.

The U.S. show, which is being made entirely in Italy, marks one of the biggest international productions lured by the storied studios in recent years.

Hailing from executive producer Jenji Kohan (“Weeds,” “Orange Is the New Black”) and creator/showrunner Kathleen Jordan (“Teenage Bounty Hunters”), the eight-episode drama takes place in 1348, as the Black Death pandemic strikes hard in the city of Florence. A handful of nobles are invited to retreat with their servants to a grand villa in the Italian countryside and wait out the pestilence with a lavish holiday. But as social rules wear thin, what starts as a wine-soaked sex romp in the hills of Tuscany descends into an all out scramble for survival.

Michael Uppendahl (“Mad Men”) is directing four of the eight episodes, as previously announced. 

“The Decameron” production now occupies a large swath of the Cinecittà backlot, where the core of the large Villa Santa’s interiors has been constructed in the vast Studio 5, known as the late filmmaker Federico Fellini’s second home. Other portions of the villa have been built on the Studio 4 and Studio 11 sound stages.

The announced cast of “The Decameron” is almost entirely made up of young non-Italian actors, including Zosia Mamet (“Girls”) as Pampinea, the soon-to-be lady of the villa; Tanya Reynolds (“Sex Education”) as Licisca, an obedient yet unpredictable servant; and Karan Gill (“I May Destroy You”) as Panfilo, the son of a politically prominent Florentine family.

But the show’s crew is mostly Italian, as are its production designer Luca Tranchino (“Domina,” “Prison Break”) and costume designers: Oscar-winner Gabriella Pescucci (“The Age of Innocence”) and Uliva Pizzetti (“The Borgias”), who often work in tandem.

The “Decameron” line producer is Nicola Rosada (“Spider Man: Far From Home”), who is working for Fremantle, which last year signed a five-year pact involving the continuous rental of six Cinecittà sound stages. The show is tapping into Italy’s tax rebates, which provide up to 40% of eligible production costs. 

Kohan is executive producing for Netflix via her Tilted Productions shingle. Kathleen Jordan is the show’s creator, showrunner and executive producer. Blake McCormick and Tara Herrmann from Tilted Productions are also on board as executive producers.

Cinecittà, which has been undergoing a radical revamp, will soon be hosting another big U.S. production. As announced, Peackock’s Roland Emmerich’s gladiator series “Those About to Die,” toplining Anthony Hopkins as Emperor Vespasian, will soon go into production at the Rome studios, which are kicking off 2023 with a bang.

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