London, UK (31 August, 2021) – The Walt Disney Company EMEA has commissioned Kaiser Karl, a series about the enigmatic and larger-than-life fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, as a Star Original for Disney+. Jan Koeppen, President of TWDC EMEA, made the announcement from the stage at the Lille Dialogues, as part of a keynote address focused on the company's commitment to source, develop and produce content with European production companies.
The six-episode series will be filmed in France and produced by Paris-based Gaumont (Lupin). It is based on the biography of the same name by Raphaëlle Bacqué who is attached to the series alongside writers Isaure Pisani-Ferry (Vampires, Ganglands) and Jennifer Have (Unfaithful, The red band society). Additional production and casting details will be announced in the coming months.
Kaiser Karl represents the first time a dramatic series will be made focused on this iconic figure. The story begins during the summer of 1972 and traces Lagerfeld’s quest to become successor of Coco Chanel, who died the year prior, and the most successful French couturier at a time when Yves Saint Laurent was the biggest fashion personality. The rivalry between Lagerfeld and Pierre Bergé (Yves Saint Laurent’s partner) as well as Lagerfeld’s love story with Jacques de Bascher will also be central to the series.
More than a period piece, Kaiser Karl will delve into Lagerfeld's world and his personality -- a character who, while quite famous, cultivated and maintained an air of intense mystery. It will shine a light on the high-end fashion houses of the 70s as well as how Lagerfeld built his unique and sometimes controversial personal brand in a world where appearances are everything.
Jan Koeppen, President, The Walt Disney Company EMEA, said: "Disney+ has given us the opportunity to tell uniquely European stories to global audiences. We have an incredibly diverse and exciting European slate, and Kaiser Karl is indicative of the kind of stories we want to be telling. We also felt Lagerfeld’s story hasn’t really been given its due until now and can’t wait to share it with our Disney+ audience.”
Pauline Dauvin, VP Programming & Original Productions, The Walt Disney Company, France, added: “We were immediately seduced by the idea of an adaptation of Bacqué’s biography, which will mark the first collaboration between Disney and Gaumont on a French original show. The series shows a unique moment of transformation in the fashion industry in France in the 70s, embodied by an icon with multiple metamorphoses, Karl Lagerfeld.”
Christophe Riandée, Vice CEO Gaumont said: “Kaiser Karl is an icon of the century and since the beginning Disney has been very supportive by sharing our creative vision for the show. We are thrilled to get started.”
Kaiser Karl adds to the 16 previously announced European projects, as part of Disney’s commitment to European production. With more than 100 titles announced at the Investor Day event, Disney+ plans to release approximately 10 Star Wars series and 10 Marvel series, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar series, as well as 15 Disney live action, Disney Animation, and Pixar features over the next few years. This is in addition to the Star Originals and the thousands of hours of movies and television from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios (ABC Signature and 20th Television), FX Productions, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures and more.
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Disney+ is the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, along with The Simpsons and much more. In select international markets, it also includes the new general entertainment content brand, Star. The flagship direct-to-consumer streaming service from The Walt Disney Company, Disney+ is part of the Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution segment. The service offers commercial-free streaming alongside an ever-growing collection of exclusive originals, including feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series, and short-form content. With unprecedented access to Disney’s long history of incredible film and television entertainment, Disney+ is also the exclusive streaming home for the newest releases from The Walt Disney Studios. And through Star, it offers the latest from 20th Century Studios, Disney Television Studios, FX, Searchlight Pictures, and more. For more, visit disneyplus.com, or find the Disney+ app on most mobile and connected TV devices.
Formed in France in 1895, Gaumont is the first film company in the world, celebrating 125 years of history and innovation. With offices in Paris, Los Angeles, London, Köln, and Berlin, Gaumont remains an industry leader, producing and distributing high-quality TV programming and films.
Specializing in producing local stories with global appeal, Gaumont’s current slate includes talent-driven, diverse, and distinctive titles across multiple languages for the world’s leading global streaming platforms and channels. In the U.S., the Netflix flagship series Narcos in its 5th season, F is for Family in its 4th season, and for Amazon Prime Video, the Latin American production co-created by Armando Bo and Pablo Larraín, El Presidente, based on the 2015 “FIFA Gate” corruption scandal. For Netflix Germany, The Barbarians, a period epic tracing the battle between the Roman Empire and Germanic Warriors in the first century A.D. In France, Lupin, directed by Louis Leterrier and starring Omar Sy for Netflix, and the espionage series Totems, for Amazon Prime Video and in the UK, Tin Star, starring Tim Roth, in its 3rd season for Sky and Amazon Prime. Amongst the many Gaumont Family & Kids, projects currently in production are; Do Re & Mi with Kristen Bell for Amazon Prime Video; and for Netflix, High in the Clouds, an animated feature developed together with Paul McCartney.
Gaumont co-produces and distributes around ten films a year in theatres. The film library encompasses over 1400 titles from prestigious directors such as Louis Malle, Jean-Luc Godard, and more recently, Toledano and Nakache for The Intouchables, the highest-grossing French-language movie to date with over $450 million in revenue to date.
Confirmed European Commissions for Disney+ are:
The Ballad of Renegade Nell (Disney+ Original)
• Fantasy action /adventure. 8 episodes / 45 minutes. Sally Wainwright / Lookout Point
• When Nell Jackson is framed for murder, she’s forced into a life of highway robbery. Aided by a plucky little spirit called Billy Blind, Nell realises that fate has put her on the wrong side of the law for a reason.
Save Our Squad (Disney+ Original)
• Transformational factual entertainment series. 6 episodes / 35 minutes. David Beckham / Twenty Twenty / Studio 99
• David Beckham mentors a struggling young grassroots football side, taking these young players, their coach, and their community on an uplifting, transformative journey of a lifetime.
Culprits (Star Original on Disney+)
• Crime drama. 8 episodes / 45 minutes. J Blakeson / Stephen Garrett / Character 7
• A darkly funny, whip-smart series about the aftermath of a heist. The crew have gone their separate ways but someone is coming after them one by one.
Extraordinary (Star Original on Disney+)
• Comedy. 8 episodes / 25 minutes. Emma Moran / Sid Gentle Films
• Meet Jen. She lives in a world where everyone has a superpower. Everyone except her. Which is just sodding great. This is a fresh, innovative comedy about being young and struggling to find your place in the world when all you’ll ever be is ‘ordinary.’
Nautilus (Disney+ Original)
• Scripted action-adventure series. 10 episodes / 50 minutes. James Dormer / Seven Stories / Moonriver TV
• The ten-part epic live-action series tells the never before told origin story of Verne’s most iconic character, Captain Nemo, and his legendary submarine, The Nautilus
• “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” by Jules Verne was published in 1871
• The original 1954 film adaptation is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK & Ireland
Wedding Season (Star Original on Disney+)
• Romantic comedy / crime drama. 8 episodes. Oliver Lyttelton / Dancing Ledge Productions / Jax Media
• A genre-busting escapist romance about two people who shouldn’t be together, but who can’t stay away from one another. The series follows Katie, a picture-perfect bride who we meet on her wedding day surrounded by the dead bodies of her new husband and every member of his family.
• Starring Rosa Salazar
Weekend Family (Disney+)
• Family Comedy. 8 episodes / 30 minutes. Baptiste Filleul / Elephant Groupe
• A jubilant comedy that chronicles the life of a new stepfamily that meets up every weekend. But when the father gets into a relationship with a new partner, the weekends take on a whole different turn.
Oussekine (Star Original on Disney+)
• Drama limited-series based on a true story. 4 episodes / 60 min. Antoine Chevrollier / Itinéraire Productions
• This hard-hitting premium drama series examines the terrible events of December 5, 1986 that led to the death of Malik Oussekine.
• Centered on his family's fight for justice, the series will delve into the 1980s to understand the impact this drama had on French society at the time.
• Fantasy Adventure. 6 episodes / 40 minutes. Quoc Dang Tran / Empreinte Digitale
• A mysterious event propels four teenage friends into parallel dimensions, leaving them racing to return home before their futures are altered forever.
Soprano: Sing or Die (Star Original on Disney+)
• Docu-series. 6 episodes / 45 minutes. Breath Films
• With unique and exclusive access to one of France’s most popular recording artists, this 6-part series will chart the history of Soprano’s success, together with the friends who have been by his side since their humble beginnings in Marseille.
Kaiser Karl (Star Original on Disney+)
• Scripted drama of six-episodes / 50 minutes
• A series about the enigmatic and larger-than-life fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, filmed in France and produced by Paris-based Gaumont (Lupin). It is based on the biography of the same name by Raphaëlle Bacqué.
The Good Mothers (Star Original on Disney+)
• Crime Drama based on a true story. 6 episodes / 60 minutes. Stephen Butchard / House Productions and Wildside
• A unique twist on the crime genre: this is the mafia seen entirely from the women’s perspectives.
• The series follows the shocking true story of three women who were born into the most deadly and wealthy of the Italian mafia clans and how they worked with a courageous female prosecutor to bring it down. They must fight their own families for the right to survive and build a new future for their children.
Boris (Star Original on Disney+)
• Comedy. 6 episodes / 30 minutes. Giacomo Ciarrapico , Luca Vendruscolo / The Apartment, a Fremantle Company
• A hilarious show-within-a-show format, the early seasons of Boris followed the behind-the-scenes world of a low-budget medical drama series.
• The new season reunites the original crew. They soon discover the world of television has changed; social media, influencers and various streaming platforms dictate the law, how will our protagonists face in this new world?
The Ignorant Angels (Star Original on Disney+)
• Romantic Drama. 8 episodes / 50 minutes. Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli, / R&C Productions
• When Antonia's husband Massimo is killed in a car accident, she discovers that he has been having a same-sex affair with a man named Michele. She’s devastated at the news, but the straight-laced Antonia finds herself building an unexpected and moving friendship with Michele and his circle of misfit eccentrics.
Sultan City (Star Original on Disney+)
• Dark Comedy Crime Thriller. 8 episodes. Ayla Gottschlich and Aysel Yilmaz / Two Moons Pictures
• When the patriarch of a respectable German-Turkish family vanishes, his widow’s comfortable life is turned upside down. Upon learning that her husband was secretly the head of a criminal network, she is drawn into a dangerous underworld, only to find that she - and her daughters - have a talent for the business.
Sam - A Saxon (Star Original on Disney+)
• True Story Drama. 6 episodes. Jörg Winger / Big Window Productions
• Based on the true-life story of Samuel Meffire, East-Germany’s first black police officer, who became a media sensation and a symbol of modern society in the post-reunification 1990s. Just a few years later, he ended up behind bars himself, as an enemy of the state.
That One Word: Feyenoord (Star Original on Disney+)
• Sports Doc Series. 8 episodes. Lusus Media
• Feyenoord is one of the most beloved clubs in The Netherlands. A working-class club with a history both filled with melancholy and pride. What will this season bring?
• Loved and followed by millions in The Netherlands, the inner workings of their football club is a very closed and secretive world. Never before has a Dutch club opened up their doors and allowed full and unlimited access. Until now.