BAFTA-winning director Joe Wright (Darkest HourAtonementCyrano) is set to direct M. Son of the Century, the new Sky Original series based on the Premio Strega-winning and international bestselling book by Antonio Scurati, which chronicles the birth of fascism in Italy and the Duce Benito Mussolini’s rise to power.

The eight-part series will cover the period 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.

Luca Marinelli will lead the cast as Benito Mussolini. Nominated five times for the David di Donatello awards – including the nomination that won him the award for They Call Me Jeeg, a film that also saw him win the Nastro d’Argento Award – Marinelli is one of the most respected actors in Italy.

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Wright will direct all eight episodes of the series and begins filming at Cinecittà Studios over the next few weeks.

The series is produced by Sky Studios and Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures, a Fremantle company, in collaboration with Pathé.