National Geographic Announces New and Returning Cast Joining Antonio Banderas for Season Two of Emmy-Nominated Series GENIUS from Fox 21 Television Studios and Imagine Television
Alex Rich as Young Picasso
Clémence Poésy as Françoise Gilot
Robert Sheehan as Carlos Casagemas
Poppy Delevingne as Marie-Thérèse Walter
Aisling Franciosi as Fernande Olivier
Sebastian Roche as Emile Gilot
Samantha Colley as Dora Maar
Seth Gabel as Guillaume Apollinaire
T.R. Knight as Max Jacobs;
and Johnny Flynn as Alain Cuny
Season Two Again Hails From Executive Producer and Showrunner Ken Biller, With Executive Producers Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Francie Calfo, Gigi Pritzker and Sam Sokolow
Production Has Begun in Europe on 10-Episode Anthology Series
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Geographic and Fox 21 Television Studios, along with Imagine Television announced the key cast joining previously announced Antonio Banderas in the second season of the Emmy-nominated anthology series GENIUS. The new cast is highlighted by Alex Rich (“GLOW,” “True Detective”), who will share the title role with Banderas, playing a young Pablo Picasso, one of the 20th century’s most influential and celebrated artists. Production begins this month and will shoot in cities all over Europe for the 10-episode anthology series. The new season, from Fox 21 Television Studios, will again be executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, Madison Wells Media’s OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow, and will premiere in 2018.
Joining Rich are Clémence Poésy (“Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire,” “In Bruges”) as Francoise Gilot, a French painter and best-selling author whose decadelong affair with Picasso yielded two children; Sebastian Roche (“Young Pope”) as Emile Gilot, Francoise’s tyrannical father; Robert Sheehan (“Fortitude,” “Misfits”) as Carlos Casagemas, a Spanish art student and poet who was one of Picasso’s closest friends; Poppy Delevingne (“Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”) as Marie-Thérèse Walter, a lover and muse of Picasso, who mothered his first daughter; and Aisling Franciosi (“Game of Thrones,” “The Fall”) as Fernande Olivier, a French artist and model who Picasso painted more than 60 portraits of.
Several cast members from the first season of GENIUS will return to the franchise, including Samantha Colley (“The Crucible”) as Dora Maar, a French photographer and painter who was also Picasso’s lover and muse; T.R. Knight (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Catch”) as Max Jacob, one of Picasso’s first friends in Paris; Seth Gabel (“Salem”) as Guillaume Apollinaire, one of the foremost poets of the 20th century and a frequent collaborator with Picasso; and Johnny Flynn (“Lovesick”), as French actor Alain Cuny.
“Working with a repertory company of versatile actors playing different roles in different seasons of a show has long been on my professional bucket list. To that end, bringing together many of our original GENIUS cast with an impressive roster of new international actors to tell the rich and provocative story of Pablo Picasso is truly a thrill,” said Ken Biller, executive producer and showrunner, who will also direct the first episode.
The artistic career of Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Crispin Crispiniano Maria Remedios de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso spanned more than 80 of his 91 years, much of it in his second home, France. Much like the subject of the first season of GENIUS, Albert Einstein, Picasso imagined and interpreted the world in totally new and unorthodox ways, and constantly reinvented our perceptions of art and creativity. The prolific artist generated an estimated 50,000 works, among the most notable being “The Old Guitarist” from his Blue Period, now on display at the Art Institute of Chicago; “Guernica,” inspired by the Nazi bombing of a small Spanish town of the same name, recently displayed at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid; and “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon,” now on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Picasso’s passionate nature and relentless creative drive were inextricably linked to his personal life, which included tumultuous marriages, numerous affairs and constantly shifting political and personal alliances. He lived most of his life in the vibrant Paris of the first half of the 20th century and crossed paths with writers and artists including Coco Chanel, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Gertrude Stein, Georges Braque and Jean Cocteau. Picasso constantly reinvented himself, always striving to innovate and push the boundaries of artistic expression.
Showrunner, executive producer and writer Biller continues his role overseeing the new season. The second season will also once again hail from Fox 21 Television Studios, whose recent “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” dominated every awards contest and critics’ list; Imagine Television, the producer of “24” and “Empire,” with executive producers Grazer and Howard along with executive producer Francie Calfo and producer Anna Culp; and Madison Wells Media’s OddLot Entertainment, which earlier this year produced the Academy Award-nominated film “Hell or High Water,” with executive producers Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane. Sam Sokolow and Jeff Cooney from EUE/Sokolow are also executive producers.
GENIUS is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, Imagine Television, Madison Wells Media’s OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow.
About National Geographic Partners LLC:
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 129 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the non-profit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
About Fox 21 Television Studios:
Fox 21 Television Studios is a production unit housed within Fox Television Group devoted to making creatively ambitious scripted and unscripted series for all distribution platforms. Fox 21 Television Studios is responsible for two of this year’s Emmy contenders for Outstanding Limited Series: Ryan Murphy’s “FEUD: Bette and Joan” (19 nominations) and GENIUS from Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Gigi Pritzker, Rachel Shane, Sam Sokolow, Jeff Cooney, Ken Biller and Noah Pink (10 nominations). The studio also produced the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning sensation from Murphy, Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (with FX Productions); the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning “Homeland,” starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin; and the critically acclaimed “The Americans” (with FX Productions), starring Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell. Additional series include “Dice,” from Scot Armstrong, Sean Furst, Bryan Furst, Richard Shepard, Bruce Rubenstein and Andrew Dice Clay; “Queen of the South,” executive produced by David T. Friendly and Natalie Chaidez; and “Chance” from Kem Nunn, Alexandra Cunningham, Lenny Abrahamson, Michael London and Grazer. Upcoming projects include “Seven Seconds” from Veena Sud, and the next two installments in the “American Crime Story” anthology, titled “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” and “Katrina.”
About Imagine Entertainment:
Imagine Entertainment was founded in 1986 by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer to create independently produced feature films, television programs and other original programming. Imagine Entertainment has been honored with over 60 prestigious awards including 43 Academy Award nominations and 187 Emmy nominations. Past productions include the Academy Award Best Picture winner “A Beautiful Mind,” as well as Grammy Award Best Film winner “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years.” Additional films include “Get on Up,” “Rush,” “J. Edgar,” “Frost/Nixon,” “American Gangster,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Apollo 13,” “8 Mile,” “Liar, Liar,” “Backdraft” and “Parenthood,” to name a few. Upcoming films include “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” Television productions include Fox’s “Empire” and “24” franchise, Nat Geo’s MARS and Breakthrough, NBC’s “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights,” Fox’s and Netflix’s “Arrested Development,” and HBO's “From the Earth to the Moon,” for which Howard and Grazer won the Emmy for Outstanding Mini-Series. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer began their collaboration in 1985 with the hit comedies “Night Shift” and “Splash,” and continue to run Imagine Entertainment as chairmen.
About Madison Wells Media’s OddLot Entertainment:
Founded in 2001 by producer Gigi Pritzker, Madison Wells Media’s OddLot Entertainment is a film and television production company that develops, produces, finances and arranges distribution for quality commercial properties for the U.S. and international markets. OddLot teams with first-class filmmakers and provides them with resources that go far beyond equity investment to produce a range of high-quality films. Most recently, OddLot produced the 10-time Emmy-nominated Nat Geo series GENIUS, as well as the Academy Award-nominated film “Hell or High Water,” written by Taylor Sheridan and starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster, for CBS Films, and the 2017 indie comedy “Landline,” starring Jenny Slate, John Turturro and Edie Falco. OddLot’s past releases include the 2010 Academy Award-nominated drama “Rabbit Hole,” starring Nicole Kidman; “The Way Way Back,” starring Steve Carell; “Drive,” starring Ryan Gosling; the futuristic sci-fi film “Ender’s Game”; and Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, “Rosewater.” OddLot CEO Gigi Pritzker is part of a consortium that launched the film studio STX Entertainment founded by producer Robert Simonds. OddLot has a preferential co-producing, financing and development deal with STX. The company is based in Los Angeles, California, and is a subsidiary of Madison Wells Media, a diversified premium content company.
Founded in 2010 by producer/director Jeff Cooney and veteran television producer Sam Sokolow, EUE/Sokolow is an independent television studio that develops, finances, produces and arranges the distribution of premium television shows and content. EUE/Sokolow attracts high-end talent to develop television properties in a forward-thinking business model designed for today’s global television marketplace. Recently, EUE/Sokolow independently produced pilots/presentations of “Co-Op,” a television show created by and starring Zachary Levi and written and directed by Nancy Hower and John Lehr; “Diplomatic Immunity,” a comedy starring Australian comedy troupe The Peloton; “Shalom Y’all,” a comedy by showrunner Caryn Lucas based on the work of Julia Fowler; and “Win With Les,” starring Josh Lucas and created and written by Blair Singer. Since opening their doors, Cooney and Sokolow have set up shows at HBO, ABC, NBC, Freeform, Nat Geo, TNT, E!, Lifetime Movie Network and OWN. EUE/Sokolow is a subsidiary of EUE/Screen Gems, whose infrastructure includes studio complexes in Atlanta, Wilmington and Miami that have been home to productions such as “Stranger Things” (Netflix), “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” (Lionsgate), “Sleepy Hollow” (Fox), “Iron Man 3” (Marvel Studios), “Six” (A&E/History Channel), “The Conjuring” (New Line Cinema), “Under the Dome” (CBS) and “East Bound and Down” (HBO).