It’s never not shocking to say this out loud, but fascism has become a very modern subject. What once seemed like a forgotten topic in History books is now very much present, and one of the biggest pieces of evidence is that it’s being reflected in the mainstream art world. Today, Variety reported exclusively that filmmaker Joe Wright is attached to direct a TV series centered on Benito Mussolini, titled simply M.
M will be an eight-episode series based on the best-selling novel M. Son of the Century, by author Antonio Scurati. Both novel and series map out the birth of fascism in Italy and depict how Mussolini became one of the founders of it, especially by elevating this government strategy through populism – a model that has been reproduced by several fascist politicians to this day.
The series starts shooting soon, which means we can expect to discover who is the actor playing the title character in the coming weeks. It’s a big role to take on, the kind that brings newcomers to stardom or challenges industry veterans. The series is adapted for the screen and written by Stefano Bises – a screenwriter who’s had experience penning gritty, political, and religious stories like the acclaimed series’ Gomorrah, The New Pope, and The Miracle. Davide Serino (1992, The Comedians) also collaborates with the scripts.
When speaking about the series to Variety, BAFTA-nominated producer Lorenzo Mieli (The Hand of God) commented on the rise of fascism in the Americas and Europe, and why he chose to bring director Wright on board:
“Fascism is something that today is relevant for everyone. It’s been relevant for the past decades, but it’s especially relevant now all over the world. And it’s interesting because before Trump, the U.S. and Anglo-Saxon culture thought Fascism was something that was not on their radar. But now it is. That’s why I thought of an Anglo-Saxon director [Joe Wright for ‘M’].”
Wright is an extremely eclectic director who has helmed titles like Pride & Prejudice, The Soloist, and fan-favorite episode “Nosedive” from the Netflix series Black Mirror. In cinema culture, the director is frequently remembered for his long take in the war drama Atonement, and he’s the one who helped British actor Gary Oldman (Slow Horses) finally win an Academy Award due to his portrayal of Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour. Recently, Wright directed the thriller movie The Woman in the Window, as well as the period musical Cyrano.
M is yet to get further details, including cast and expected release window.