The three-act play was originally written by Italian novelist and playwright Stefano Massini before Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes mounted a London stage version in 2018 and a Broadway version last year. The New York production won five Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Director Mendes.
Zeller will write, direct, and co-produce the series under his newly formed banner Blue Morning. Lorenzi Mieli of The Apartment Pictures and Domenico Procacci of Fandgo will serve as executive producers. (They also previously collaborated on the HBO series “My Brilliant Friend,” from the novels by Elena Ferrante.)
The time-spanning, five-hour epic play tracks the rise and fall of a global financial institution that ultimately sparked the 2008 recession. The original Italian production was mounted in 2015. It follows the lives of three immigrant brothers as they arrive in America, found an investment firm, and eventually sow financial ruin.
The news arrives on the heels of premieres of “The Son” at Venice and Toronto. Starring Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, and Vanessa Kirby, the Sony Pictures Classics release follows a family grappling with their teenage son’s depression following a divorce. SPC releases the movie stateside on November 11, planning an awards run for the film and its actors. Reviews have been mixed, with some audiences in Toronto especially underwhelmed by Zeller’s handling of the dark material.
Zeller made his directorial debut with “The Father,” based on his own play of the same name, starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman. The film received six Oscar nominations, with Zeller winning Best Adapted Screenplay along with co-writer Christopher Hampton and Hopkins winning Best Actor.
“’The Lehman Trilogy’ is a fascinating tale of family and power which spans decades in an ever-changing social and political landscape in America,” said Zeller in a statement shared with press. “I could not dream of a richer canvas on which to work and so grateful to everyone who made this a reality.”
Mieli, producer and CEO of The Apartment, said he was “excited to see the brilliant and unexpected way he will reinvent Stefano Massini’s beautiful and award-winning play for the screen.”
“I find it interesting and stimulating that it will be, once again, a great European writer telling the life and death of an institution symbol of the great power and also the shocking fragility of the American dream for over a century,” Mieli continued.
Procacci, producer and Fandango CEO, said “Stefano Massini wrote such a strongly original and wonderfully unique text. It takes genius to handle such valuable narrative material. I am delighted that Florian Zeller has decided to dedicate his enormous talent to making those same pages become a series that now has every chance to become memorable.”