Sky Studios announces the new Sky Original series DOMINA
The Power Politics Of Ancient Rome
Through The Eyes Of The Women
Milan, November 21 2019 – Sky today announced an ambitious new Sky Original series, DOMINA, which will bring to life the power struggles of Ancient Rome from a different perspective, that of the women.
Produced by Fifty Fathoms(Fortitude) and Sky Studios, with Cattleya as executive production services, the epic ten-part drama is a highly topical story, which follows the life and the extraordinary rise of Livia Drusilla, who overcame adversity to become the most powerful woman in the world. Filming started this week at Cinecittà Studios in Rome.
The series features Kasia Smutniak (Perfect Strangers, Them, Devils) playing Livia Drusilla supported by an international stellar cast including Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) playing Livius, Livia’s father, and Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet, Death Becomes Her) playing Balbina, an early enemy. Alongside them star Matthew McNulty (Misfits) as the future emperor Gaius, Christine Bottomley (The End of the F***ing World) as Scribonia, Colette Tchantcho (The Witcher) as Antigone, Ben Batt (Captain America: The First Avenger) as Agrippa, Enzo Cilenti (Free Fire) as Tiberius Claudius Nero, while Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black) plays Claudia Octavia.
The story follows Livia’s journey from a naïve young girl whose world crumbles in the wake of Julius Caesar’s assassination, to Rome’s most powerful and influential Empress, driven by a deep desire to avenge her father and secure power for her sons. Livia and her peers navigate their way through a brutal society by means of strategy, conspiracy, seduction and murder. This is a visceral and authentic family saga, grounded in historical accuracy and bringing to life the incredible true stories of the women who would create one of the most enduring and fascinating dynasties of all time.
Created and written by Simon Burke (Zen, Fortitude), the lead director is the acclaimed Australian filmmaker Claire McCarthy (Ophelia, The Luminaries).
The crew includes top Italian professionals: costumes will be designed by the Academy Award winning Gabriella Pescucci (The Age Of Innocence, Once Upon A Time in America), production design by Luca Tranchino (Prison Break), make up by Katia Sisto (Penny Dreadful) and hair design by Claudia Catini (Trust).
Kasia Smutniak said: “I am thrilled to be playing such a complex character as Livia Drusilla. As a frontrunner in defending women's rights, she was a tough woman who was both feared and cherished and was strong enough to seal the fate of the Roman Empire”.
Nicola Maccanico, Executive Vice President Programming Sky Italia, said: “Domina is an international production and we are very proud of its strong Italian roots. It is a great epic drama that brings to life ancient Rome again, but from a different perspective, that of the women, and reshapes our view of them. They are the masters of their fate and fiercely pursue their ambitions and ultimately the conquest of power. With Domina, Sky Studios will once again bring together major international artistic values and top Italian talents."
Patrick Spence, Managing Director Fifty Fathoms, said, “Simon’s scripts offer a unique opportunity to see Ancient Rome as it has never been shown before. Authentic, messy, visceral, and with the agenda driven quietly, but ruthlessly by the women.”
Claire McCarthy, Domina lead director, said: “This period of Roman history is truth being stranger than fiction. I'm tremendously excited to bring this rich and visceral world to life with this incredible troupe of stellar actors and the gifted creative team. What an honour to be working out of Cinecittà studios too where so many of the greats have built cinema history.”
DOMINA is a Sky Original series produced by Fifty Fathoms and Sky Studios, with Cattleya as executive production services. The series is executive produced by Patrick Spence, Marcus Wilson, Faye Dorn, Simon Burke and Claire McCarthy and produced by John Phillips.
The series will air exclusively in all Sky territories, in Italy, UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain. NBCUniversal Global Distribution holds international rights in the rest of the world on behalf of Sky Studios.
DOMINA is the latest in a string of recent commissions as Sky continues to invest in original content. Sky has recently committed to more than double its investment in original drama, comedy and documentary through Sky Studios, the commissioning and production arm of Sky. Sky Studios brings to screen unique stories from the very best talent in Europe and is the creative home of Sky’s award-winning and much-loved Sky originals.
Among the Sky Originals coming soon on Sky: The New Pope, the new series created and directed by Oscar® winner Paolo Sorrentino with the two-time Oscar® nominees Jude Law and John Malkovich; ZeroZeroZero, directed by Stefano Sollima and based on Roberto Saviano’s book, featuring Andrea Riseborough, Dane DeHaan and Gabriel Byrne; Devils, starring Alessandro Borghi and Patrick Dempsey. 2019 has been a record year for Sky Original’s series thanks to the 10 Emmy Awards picked up by Chernobyl and the new seasons of the most loved series, like Gomorrah and 1994, alongside the new productions including Catherine the Great.
Sky Studios brings to screen unique stories from the very best talent in Europe.
We develop, produce and fund original drama, comedy and documentary for Sky’s 24m customers and beyond. Building on the success of critically-acclaimed Sky originals including 10-time Emmy-winning Chernobyl, Bafta-winning Patrick Melrose and international hits Babylon Berlin and Riviera, Sky Studios is the new creative home of Sky originals, such as The Third Day with Jude Law, ZeroZeroZero from the makers of Gomorrah and The New Pope directed by Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino.
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 NBC Universal.
Sky Studios invests in the cultural economy and global production sector with equity stakes in 10 production companies in the UK and the US, including Great British Bake-Off creator Love Productions, and the premiere reality crime producer in the US, Jupiter Entertainment, creator of long-running hit Snapped. Sky Studios has invested in high quality factual specialists Blast Films and True North Productions; entertainment and format expert Znak & Co (US & UK); natural history producer True to Nature; and growth businesses Sugar Films, Avanti Media, Chrysalis Vision, and Talos Films (US).
Sky Studios launched in June 2019. The senior leadership team is Chief Executive Officer Gary Davey, Chief Commercial Officer Jane Millichip, Chief Finance Officer Caroline Cooper, Director of Drama UK Cameron Roach, Director of Comedy UK Jon Mountague, Director Original Production Sky Italia Nils Hartmann, and Director Original Production Sky Deutschland Marcus Ammon.
With 24 million customers across seven countries, Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Our 31,000 employees help connect our customers with the very best of Sports, News, the arts and to our own local, original content. Following the success of Sky originals like Chernobyl, Patrick Melrose, Das Boot and Gomorrah we launched Sky Studios and now plan to more than double our investment in original drama and comedy over the next five years.
Our technology allows customers to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, and as we connect millions of families to content they love, it is our responsibility to do it safely – that’s why we offer services like Sky Broadband Buddy and the Sky Kids app. And our online streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.
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About Fifty Fathoms
A multi BAFTA Award winning production company, set up in 2010 by Patrick Spence.
Recent productions include Lucy Kirkwood’s ADULT MATERIAL for C4, starring Hayley Squires and Rupert Everett; Jack Thorne’s THE EDDY for Netflix, directed by the Academy Award winning Damien Chazelle; the third seasons of Simon Donald’s FORTITUDE for Sky Atlantic, starring Dennis Quaid, Sofie Grabol, Michael Gambon and Richard Dormer; and Pete Bowker’s THE A WORD for BBC1, starring Chris Eccleston and Morven Christie.
Credits also include Pete Bowker’s BAFTA Award winning BBC film MARVELLOUS, directed by Julian Farino and starring Toby Jones; and the Academy Award winning John Ridley’s GUERRILLA, for Sky Atlantic and Showtime, starring Frieda Pinto, Babou Ceesay, Rory Kinnear and Idris Elba.