If there’s anything the stunning 1988 Oscar-winner Cinema Paradiso tells us, it’s that the only thing more magical than finding your passion is fostering a community around it. Now, nearly 35 years after Giuseppe Tornatore’s film first premiered in theaters, the director plans to bring the story to a new audience through a thoroughly modern medium: Streaming television. Per Variety, Tornatore will adapt Cinema Paradiso into a six-episode miniseries, set for distribution at a still-undisclosed “prominent streamer” in 2023.
The original film follows a young Sicilian boy, Toto (played by the marvelous Salvatore “Totò” Cascio) as he becomes involved with his local cinema and develops a passion for the movies that carries him through his life. In the years since it’s release, Cinema Paradiso (which also won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes) has become a lauded favorite of classic cinema—a newly restored version was released in the U.K. in 2020.
Perfect Strangers producer Marco Belardi will produce the Cinema Paradiso series through Bamboo Production, the new shingle he launched in February. According to Variety, Belardi says Tornatore is currently working on writing a treatment and pilot for the series, which “will be the same story of the film, but in expanded form with various different narrative strands.” Elaborating cryptically on said strands, Belardi cites “the strength of a mother, the solidarity of a friend, sex as a taboo, forced relocations, eloping, and marked social differences,” as thematic elements that would color the new series’ emotional landscape.
Belardi also shares that, alongside the Cinema Paradiso series, he hopes to work with Tornatore to produce a documentary about the making of the original film and how it came to fruition. Although Belardi expressed interest in the companion documentary both creatively and from a producing mindset, the project has not received an official green light yet.
Tornatore’s adaptation marks a rising trend in the industry of veteran directors revisiting their own bodies of work to mine for miniseries gold. Olivier Assayas’ recent adaptation of Irma Vep for HBO is the most fully-realized (and so far, successful) example, but Baz Luhrmann has also announced plans to expand his 2008 film Australia into a miniseries for Hulu.