Culture

The western is back in vogue as Sky offers first look at high-concept Django

Matthias Schoenaerts in costume as western hero Django

The western is staging a TV comeback, courtesy of Sky. The first images from Django, described as a high-concept reimagining of the classic Western, has been released, even as shooting continues in Romania. 

Matthias Schoenaerts, whose previous credits include The Danish Girl, The Mustang and Rust and Bone, stars as the titular hero, joined by Nicholas Pinnock as John Ellis, Django’s antagonist, and Noomi Rapace in the role of Ellis’ powerful and merciless enemy Elizabeth, with Lisa Vicari as Django’s long lost daughter Sarah.

Noomi Rapace has starred in Prometheus and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well as independent films Daisy Diamond and the Cannes Festival film Lamb.  Nicholas Pinnock, is best known for popular TV dramas Counterpart, Top Boy, Fortitude, Marcella and most recently For Life.

German rising star Lisa Vicari is one of the stars of cult Network Sci-Fi show Dark.

The series is loosely based on the Sergio Corbucci spaghetti western of the same name from 1966, and will comprise ten sixty minute episodes. 

The series is said to be loosely based on the Italian spaghetti western of the same name from 1966…

A first look at characters from Django on Sky TV
A contemporary and psychological twist on the Western genre

Here’s the official Django premise: The story is set in the Wild West in the 1860s and 1870s. Sarah and John have founded New Babylon, a city of outcasts, full of men and women of all backgrounds, races and creeds, that welcomes everyone with open arms. Haunted by the murder of his family eight years earlier, Django is still looking for his daughter, believing she may have survived. He is shocked to find her in New Babylon, about to marry John. But Sarah, now a grown woman, wants Django to leave, as she fears he will put New Babylon in jeopardy if he stays. However, Django, believing the city is in danger, is adamant that he will not lose his daughter twice.

We’re promised a contemporary and psychological twist on the Western genre, with an accurate representation of the period.  

The first episodes of Django are directed by Francesca Comencini (Gomorrah the Series), also the series’ artistic director, with subsequent episodes directed by David Evans (Downton Abbey) and Enrico Maria Artale (Romulus).

Django was created and written by Gomorrah‘s Leonardo Fasoli and Maddalena Ravagli.

Django is currently being filmed on location over six months in Racos, Bucharest and the Danube area.

Characters on horseback from Django on Sky TV
No transmission date has been set for Django, but 2022 looks likely

Sky commissions new comedy series starring Gemma Arterton based on Nick Hornby novel Funny Girl 

Sky is adapting Nick Horby’s Funny Girl as a comedy series starring Gemma Arterton. Written by Morwenna Banks, the show tells of a young woman from Blackpool finding her comic voice in the male dominated world of the 1960s sitcom. 

Gemma Arterton is Barbara Parker, a Blackpool beauty queen who becomes a comedy superstar. Clare-Hope Ashitey (Riviera), Arsher Ali (Informer) and Alexa Davies (Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!) will also star with more cast to be confirmed.

Here’s the official series premise: It’s the height of the swinging 60s and Barbara Parker has just been crowned Miss Blackpool, but there’s got to be more to life than being a beauty queen in a seaside town, right? She wants to be… someone. The bright lights of London are calling, and our determined hero sets off to find out who that someone is.

The London she encounters is not quite as swinging as the one she’d read about and seen on TV. However, after a series of setbacks Barbara finds herself in unfamiliar territory – an audition for a TV comedy show. Barbara’s uncompromising northern wit proves to be the X factor that the show has been missing. She gets the part and becomes part of a ground-breaking new sitcom which will have an impact on British comedy for decades to come.

Funny Girl is directed by BAFTA nominee Oliver Parker.  It will come to Sky and streaming service Now, date to be confirmed.

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