“The Immortal,” a film prequel to the hit TV series “Gomorrah,” is set for release Thursday on 450 screens in Italy in what its distributors are touting as a unique cross-media experiment.
Helmed by actor-director Marco D’Amore, who plays ruthless central character Ciro Di Marzio on the gritty mob show, “The Immortal” is not just a standalone prequel film, its producers said in Rome on Monday. Instead, the film’s narrative, which crisscrosses in time between Ciro’s origins and his current situation, has been conceived as an essential piece of the puzzle for fans of the show, which is distributed by Germany’s Beta in 190 countries. The film’s storyline connects to the series’ upcoming fifth season, which is expected to air in 2021.
Shot in Naples and Riga, Latvia, “The Immortal” is produced by ITV-owned Cattleya and Sky Italia’s Vision Distribution, in collaboration with Beta Film. The story and screenplay were written by Leonardo Fasoli, Maddalena Ravagli, Marco D’Amore and Francesco Ghiaccio. The film is being distributed by Vision Distribution and Beta.
Cattleya chief Riccardo Tozzi said that while there are plenty of movies out there made as TV series spinoffs, such as “Downton Abbey,” “The Immortal” tried to do something different and more complex. “We have a movie that is being inserted into a series and that has a dialogue with the series,” Tozzi said.
Ciro’s back story is that he survived the 1980 Naples earthquake that killed his family, then grew up in an orphanage, a formative experience for his cold-hearted criminal ways, before going to work for Don Pietro Savastano and becoming a mentor for his son Genny, all while surviving multiple attempts on his life.
The film delves into the origins of the Ciro character in flashbacks in Naples that alternate with the present in Latvia. The finale interacts directly with the series.
Sky Italia EVP of programming Nicola Maccanico underlined that the film completes the fourth season of “Gomorrah,” noting that “it’s not just a bridge.” He added that, after seeing the film, “viewers will have the full back story that will allow them to be able to fully take in the fifth season not so much in terms of events but more in terms of the psychology of the characters.”
Maccanico said that, since shooting of “Gomorrah’s” fifth season will not start until the spring or summer of 2020, there is a large enough time gap for “a regular international theatrical rollout” of “The Immortal” film “with all the windows.”
“We are curious to see if our choice to expand the world of ‘Gomorrah’ theatrically will work and possibly even be replicated by others around the world,” he said.
Beta will be kicking off international sales on “The Immortal” during the Berlin Film Festival, where it is possible that the film will have its international bow.