Sky announces M. Son of the Century, a new Sky Original drama series chronicling Benito Mussolini’s rise to power

Tuesday 5 April 2022
  • Based on the Premio Strega-winning and international bestselling book by Antonio Scurati
  • A Sky Studios series produced by Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures, a Fremantle company in collaboration with Pathé. Written by Stefano Bises 

Sky today announces M. Son of the Century a bold, new, landmark Sky Original drama series based on Antonio Scurati’s Premio Strega-winning and international bestselling novel that chronicles the birth of fascism in Italy and the rise to power of Duce Benito Mussolini. 

The eight-part series from Sky Studios, produced by Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures, a Fremantle Company, in collaboration with Pathé, will cover from the founding of Fasci Italiani in 1919 through to Mussolini’s infamous speech in parliament following the murder of socialist MP Giacomo Matteotti in 1925. The series will also provide viewers with an insight into Mussolini and his personal relationships, including with his wife Rachele, his lover Margherita Sarfatti and with other iconic figures from the time. Like the novel, the series will tell the history of a country that surrendered to dictatorship and the story of a man who was able to rise from his ashes time and again.

The drama is written by Stefano Bises (Gomorrah – The Series, The New Pope, ZeroZeroZero, Speravo de morì prima) in collaboration with Davide Serino (1992, 1993, The King, Exterior Night). The series will tell the events with historical accuracy, with every event, character, dialogue and speech documented or witnessed by multiple sources.

Lorenzo Mieli, CEO of The Apartment Pictures, said: "Making this series today has great value. In recent years we have witnessed the birth of new forms of populism, sovereignty and authoritarianism. Traces of the man who made the March on Rome a hundred years ago can be found in many figures of the times in which we live. Even more so now that Europe has once again become a theatre of war. "M" recounts the perverse mechanisms of empathy and violence, of manipulation and modernity that swept Italy a century ago. And shortly afterwards the world. It is an extraordinarily contemporary tale, but also a journey into the boundless ambitions, seductive capacities, relationships and fears of a man who made a large part of the Italian people fall in love with him and then dragged them into an abyss. In which, in the end, he himself found death.”

Antonio Scurati said: “M depicts - for the first time from the inside - the rise of the fascist dictatorship and the sinister power of the dictator, Benito Mussolini. A theme of tragic relevance. I am happy that a series will extend the literary project. We need stories that awaken the passion for freedom. The struggle between democracy and dictatorship is not over”.

Filming will begin in 2023 and the series is set to be shown on Sky and streaming service NOW in all Sky markets across Europe. Fremantle will handle international sales. Since first published by Bompiani in 2018, Scurati’s novel ‘M. Son of the Century’ has been translated for publication into 46 countries, sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide, won the Premio Strega, Italy’s most prestigious literary award, and is published today by HarperCollins in the United States.

For further information, please contact:

Sky UK:

The Apartment Pictures

Daniela D’antonio +39 3493074957

Federica Ceraolo +39 3409172947


International marketing: Benoit Sauvage +33677781242

Pathé Brand & Corporate communication: Sebastien Careil +33661599184

Notes to editors

About Sky Studios

Sky Studios is Sky’s original programming arm across Europe.

We develop, produce, commission and fund original drama and scripted comedy for Sky’s 24m customers and beyond. Building on the success of critically-acclaimed Sky Originals including Emmy-winning Chernobyl, Bafta-winning Patrick Melrose and international hits Das Boot, Riviera and Britannia, Sky Studios is the new creative home of must-see Sky Originals, such as The Rising, Blocco 181 and Souls.

We’re an agile Studio, seeking out the best untold stories from new voices while working in creative partnership with today’s best writers, producers and on-screen talent to bring viewers stories they wouldn’t find anywhere else.

With commissioning talent and production capability across the UK, Germany and Italy, we understand local tastes across Europe better than anyone else and have plans to more than double our investment in original content by 2024, fully supported and backed by Comcast NBCUniversal.

We’re also developing a new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, which is expected to lead to the creation of over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the UK creative sector in the first five years alone.

About NOW

NOW is the home of brilliant entertainment. We’re one of the UK’s leading streaming services with critically acclaimed shows, new and exclusive movies, unmissable sport and epic kids TV – all with no contract. Join in with an Entertainment, Cinema, Sports, or hayu Membership to stream instantly across TV, mobile, desktop and over 60 other devices. Watch on the go and even offline with our app by downloading shows and movies.

Entertainment Members can enjoy critically acclaimed dramas, documentaries and comedies, Emmy award-winning shows, the best of HBO and exclusive Sky Originals. Cinema Members can discover over 1000 brilliant movies, from the latest blockbusters and classic favourites and a new premiere every day. Sports Members cheer on unmissable Premier League, international cricket, F1, golf and more – all live, across 11 Sky Sports channels.

Plus, members can enhance their experience with NOW Boost – that’s full 1080p HD, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and streaming on up to 3 devices at once, ad-free in VOD.

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About The Apartment Pictures

The Apartment is a company founded in 2020 by Lorenzo Mieli within the Fremantle group.

The company focuses on the creation and development of global scale TV series and feature films by investing in IP acquisition, exclusive deals with International level talent and writers. The Apartment positions itself on the market as an incubator of major projects that are developed and financed, and then physically produced by a network of partner production companies. In its initial slate, The Apartment has coproduced with Wildside Academy Award director Paolo Sorrentino’s The New Pope, Saverio Costanzo’s My Brilliant Friend – The Story of a New Name, and Luca Guadagnino’s We Are Who We Are. The Apartment most recently produced Paolo Sorrentino’s The Hand of God, which is an Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominee, as well as winner of the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival 2021. The company is currently post-producing Exterior Night, a drama series by Marco Bellocchio. Lorenzo Mieli is the CEO of The Apartment.

About Pathé

Drawing from its rich history, PATHÉ has reached a leading position in the cinema industry worldwide, operating as a film studio in France, the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland and North Africa. It is involved in all aspects of filmmaking, from development and production through to international sales, distribution and exhibition.

Proprietor of one of the largest movie theater chains in Europe, PATHE also produces and distributes a wide range of feature films: from hit comedies and epic blockbusters, to critical darlings, period dramas and award-winning arthouse films.

With a creative approach firmly Talents oriented, PATHÉ holds long-lasting and solid relationships with major European writers and directors such as Pedro Almodovar, Paolo Sorrentino, Jean-Jacques Annaud and Paul Verhoeven, as well as rising talents such as Nicolas Bedos (LA BELLE ÉPOQUE), Antonin Baudry (THE WOLF’S CALL) and Sian Heder (CODA).

Recent productions include:

  • Oscar-winning JUDY, directed by Rupert Goold and written by Tom Edge, starring Renée Zellweger
    CANNES FILM FESTIVAL Official Selection BENEDETTA, directed by Paul Verhoeven and co-written by David Birke, starring Virginie Efira
  • EIFFEL, directed by Martin Bourboulon, starring Romain Duris and Emma Mackey.
  • SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL standout CODA, directed by Sian Heder, securing a record-breaking distribution deal with APPLE TV+ and academy award winner 2022 of three major awards including BEST FILM.

Ongoing productions include:

  • Adventure comedy film ASTÉRIX & OBÉLIX: The Middle Kingdom, directed by Guillaume Canet with a budget of approx. 60M€
  • THE THREE MUSKETEERS, an epic adventure two-parter directed by Martin Bourboulon and starring Vincent Cassel, Romain Duris, Eva Green, François Civil, with a combined budget of approx. 60M€

PATHÉ Series branch is proud to collaborate with The Apartment Pictures on this ambitious project, which totally fits with Pathé’s ambition to promote premium fictions carried by visionary authors, with international impacts.