Last Saturday, Pope Francis starred in one of the most unreal images of this unreal pandemic, when he went out to pronounce his urbi et orb blessing in an empty St. Peter’s Square. That image was captured by the eye of Enrique López Lavigne, producer of Lo imposible, 28 weeks later, Paquita Salas y Vergüenza. “I will not forget,” he recalls now by phone at his house in Madrid. “He suggested to me an end of time, the Pope alone in his homily. And, at the same time, also the importance of religions, and how they internalize from home, from the private. ” The Pope is the protagonist of López Lavigne’s new project, an adaptation to a television series of the Spanish cult comic Roman Ritual, by El Torres, in which the pontiff is forced to resign, as Benedict XVI did, but this time because he is possessed by the devil. It will be written and directed by Paco Plaza, co-director of [REC] and Veronica in the cinema.
It is one of the most unexpected and ambitious announcements that have been heard so far this year. The series is being thought of as a great premiere, however much despite fine sensibilities, it may hurt with the story of a Pope possessed by a demon that resists exorcism after exorcism. The Church, desperate, begins to think about succession, which opens up stark wars. “Paco [Plaza] He left it on the table for me a few years ago, ”recalls López Lavigne. “But then each one went to do his own thing, he Who kills iron, and I my projects. We recovered it recently, we saw that it had a connection with something that had happened recently, the abdication of Benedict XVI, with which the genre could be transcended and show a fun, suggestive hypothesis ”.
In a few days marked by the cancellation of projects and paralyzed economy, if not worse, it is rare to hear about new jobs. Roman Ritual is the exception because it enlarges the portfolio of El Estudio, a new Spanish content producer based in Madrid (with López Lavigne), Mexico (with Pablo Cruz, veteran of Canana) and Los Angeles (with the former Sony International , Diego Suárez Chialvo). “We see the need to use a language as extensive as Spanish to tell stories,” explains Lavigne. “Narcos and La casa de papel have broken with territoriality, now people consume stories that are global.”
The Studio was presented at the end of February, during the Berlin Festival, with a handful of projects that seek to touch all areas of Spanish speech. There is the Mexican version of the Spanish series Vergüenza, the terrorist series Trilogía de Barcelona by Kike Maillo, a movie for Netflix called El Baile del 41, about Mexico City in 1901, or Patio, a drama about bullying by Albert Espinosa ( Red Bracelets). Roman Ritual brings his list to Paco Plaza, to which, if everything goes as planned, Pablo Larraín (Jackie) will also join.