Starz plans Havana noir with Banderas

US cable channel Starz and Entertainment One Television are working up a Cuban-flavoured noir drama with actor Antonio Banderas.

Havana Quartet, which comes from Cuban writer Eduardo Machado (Magic City), who is writing a pilot and will executive produce alongside banderas and Peter Naderman of Nadcon Film and Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny of Sienna Films.

eOne will act as the studios and handle worldwide distribution of the hour-long drama. Starz will retain network pay TV and SVOD rights.

Havana Quartet is based on four detective novels from Leonardo Padura about a hard-living Cuban police detective who longs to be a writer. Banderas will play the lead in the pilot.

eOne’s executive VP, global productions will oversee the project with director of development Becca Tesarfreund.

For the studio, the news comes soon after it hired ex-studio exec Pancho Mansfield as president, global scripted programming.

Havana Quartet is a series that captures both the romance and the underbelly of a country that has struck our collective curiosity and imagination for decades, and it was important for us to create a show that is authentic to Padura’s elegant, noir-tinged novels and to Cuba itself,” said Mansfield.

“Starz continues to see great opportunity in continued programming diversification with many communities and genres,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht.

“Partnering with eOne to develop the drama series Havana Quartet with international star Antonio Banderas will allow us to give viewers a premium show that highlights the decaying beauty of Cuba during its ‘Special Period’ [an economic crisis that began after the fall of the Communist Soviet Union] – a time and place which tourists rarely got to experience.”

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