EXCLUSIVE: Filming is underway on ambitious European drama series The Net, about corruption and conspiracies in the world of international soccer.
The Net will comprise four independent series, shot in their local languages, which will work as stand-alone dramas, but also as part of an interwoven narrative across 30 hours of storytelling.
The first of four seasons to get underway is Austria’s The Net – Prometheus, which will star Tobias Moretti (Bad Banks), Angel Coulby (Merlin), Amanda Abbington (Sherlock), Benjamin Sadler (Tribes of Europa) and Nicholas Goh (Skyfall). Andreas Prochaska (The Winemaker) is directing Martin Ambrosch’s (Brock) script.
Set in Austria’s mountains, the drama will center on Georg Trotter (Moretti), a doctor and former doping agent who gave up his career after a tragic car accident badly injuring his wife Diana (Coulby) and killing his beloved son. Known as notorious doping hunter and “bloodhound”, Georg is offered to run a new, hypermodern, high-performance clinic in the Alps. There, the staff is supposed to get injured football players back into shape in record time with high-tech training methods, and help young talent to become the best footballers in the world. They promote clean sports without illegal tricks; for Georg a job that seems to have been made for him. But soon, he has doubts: Is it really about the wellbeing of the players and that of the sport? The closer Georg looks behind the fancy facade, the more secrets he uncovers, which not only point towards the future, but also into his own past.
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Filming has begun in Liverpool, Vienna, Bad Gastein and Salzburg and the Austrian drama will air on Red Bull’s Servus TV and go online via the ARD Mediathek during the FIFA World Cup, which is due to take place in late 2022 in Qatar.
The German series, produced by Sommerhaus Serien for ARD Degeto, is set to follow this summer, while an Italian season is currently in development, due to start shooting later this year, and the fourth series, set in Spain and Latin America, is also in development.
The whole project is co-produced by Das Netz – a joint venture between Red Bull Media House and Beta Film – as well as the local producers of the separate series. It is based on an idea of Matthias Hartmann and Plinio Bachmann.
The Austrian installment is produced by MR Film in coproduction with ServusTV, ARD Degeto and Das Netz, supported by the Austrian Television Fund, Vienna Film Fund and the state of Salzburg
Red Bull Media House’s Matthias Hartmann, creator of The Net, said: “The art of serialized storytelling has taken giant strides within the last years. Depending on genres, it developed highly complex and ambivalent characters. For many, series are now synonymous with classic novels. For us, this inevitably leads to the question, if we couldn’t extend the storytelling cosmos and create a global series network, which allows the characters and stories to travel. As football is everything, more than money and religion, there’s nothing in the world that would be better suited.”
MR Film’s Oliver Auspitz added: “The Net is going to be a new way of serial storytelling. Of course, you’ll be able to watch and enjoy only one of four series, episode by episode. But it will also be possible to take part in a cross-over adventure if you watch all four series together, each time discovering your favorite characters in different countries and on different missions. Then, you will be able to get the big picture of The Net. For me as a producer, it is such a thrilling new way of thinking and producing. It took its time and it was not easy, but with our extraordinary team, we will succeed – we will go beyond the ordinary.”
Director Andreas Prochaska commented: “The Net is an extraordinary project, which allows me to unite national and international talent in front of the camera. Martin Ambrosch’s script merges drama and science fiction into a complex thriller with lots of ambivalent characters. The viewer can expect an exciting journey through the worlds of football, doping, medical drama and crime, from Liverpool to Austria’s Bad Gastein, from the playing field to a high-tech laboratory with unscrupulous scientists.”
Daniel Prochaska (Maximilian) will take over directing duties for episode five-eight of The Net – Prometheus.