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Cattleya Producciones acquires the rights to Arturo Pérez-Reverte for its television adaptation

Cattleya Producciones, a production company that specializes in the creation of drama series and films, part of ITV Studios, has acquired the audiovisual rights to Arturo Pérez-Reverte's novel El Italiano, which it will be adapting for television in a mini-series format. Inspired by real events, El Italiano is a story of love, spies, and the sea set at the height of World War II in the Bay of Algeciras, where Italian combat divers are causing chaos among the Allied forces. The destinies of Elena Arbués and Teseo Lombardo will cross paths in an espionage plot that takes place on both sides of the Fence of Gibraltar. The novel has been a bestseller in 2021 and 2022, with more than 500,000 copies sold in Spanish, and was just recently launched in Italy, where it's been available in bookstores since the month of June. 

The project is headed by Arturo Díaz, Managing Director and Executive Producer of Cattleya Producciones, and Ricardo Tozzi, founder and President of Cattleya. During his previous period at Netflix, Díaz has participated as a content executive in more than 30 television series produced in Spain, the United States and Latin America, including Cable Girls and Elite, among others. Tozzi is in charge of the content area of the Italian Cattleya and has produced more than 70 films and series including Romanzo Criminale, Gomorrah, Suburra, ZeroZeroZero and Summertime. 

Cattleya Producciones is already working on the international cast of actors who will bring this story's Spanish, Italian and English players to life. Screenwriter Beto Marini, creator of series including La Unidad or feature films like Sleep Tight, Retribution or Extinction, will be in charge of the novel's adaptation.

“When we read El Italiano, it was impossible not to imagine a television series. Arturo Pérez-Reverte transports us to a unique time and unique places, makes us fall in love with his characters, and both surprises and thrills us in equal measure. We can feel the danger of being a combat diver, the tension of being a spy crossing a border, and above all the passion of two highly nuanced characters. We want to make El Italiano an ambitious international series, worthy of an author who represents Spain all over the world," says Arturo Díaz, Managing Director of Cattleya Producciones. 

“`El Italiano' is a gripping adventure, love, and espionage story, set in an unconventional location, Gibraltar, a British territory that was affected by the Second World War because it was bordered by Spain, a neutral country. Its characters are ordinary men and women who, conditioned by the times in which they lived, led extraordinary lives. It is also the story of soldiers (sailors in this case) who were torn apart by internal conflicts caused by the armistice declared between Italy and the Allied Forces on September 8th, 1943. Our protagonist, after that crucial date, will choose to side with the Italian Army fighting alongside the Allied Forces," commented Riccardo Tozzi, founder of Cattleya. 

Arturo Pérez-Reverte, who trained in underwater activities at the “Centro de Buceo de la Armada” (Navy Diving Center) in Cartagena in the late sixties, brings part of his experience to this story told to him by his father when he was a child. With more than twenty million readers worldwide, translated into forty languages and with many of his works adapted for film and television, he is one of the most outstanding Spanish-language authors on the literary scene. 

“In those tragic, dangerous years of World War II, there were brave men and women that history left behind and has forgotten: people who did daring, seemingly impossible things that their adversaries were incapable of imagining. 'El Italiano' is my attempt to recover and honor their memory. I'm positive that this series from Cattleya, whose productions I have always admired for their quality, will be faithful to the story I wrote," says Arturo Pérez-Reverte.

The Story

1942. The war is slowly changing, but in British-ruled Gibraltar, Italian combat divers are causing chaos among the Allied forces throughout the Mediterranean.

Elena Arbués is a young bookseller who finds a man washed up on the beach. He is Teseo Lombardo, an Italian combat diver who, every night, tries to sink the Allied ships in Gibraltar. When she comes to his rescue, the young woman is unaware that this decision will change her life and that love will only be part of a dangerous espionage adventure. 


About Cattleya Producciones

Founded in 2021, Cattleya Producciones develops and produces Spanish-language drama films and series. Based in Madrid, it is helmed by Arturo Diaz, and is a partner of Cattleya, the leading Italian film and television production company in Europe that has produced series including Romanzo Criminale, Gomorrah, Suburra, ZeroZeroZero and Summertime, among others. Cattleya is directed by Riccardo Tozzi, Marco Chimenz, and Giovanni Stabilini.

Cattleya Producciones is part of the ITV Studios group, a television production and distribution multinational with more than 60 production companies in 12 different countries, including World Productions (Bodyguard), Cattleya (Gomorrah), Tomorrow Studios (Cowboy Bebop) and Apple Tree (Equinox).