Jeremy Irons Leads Showtime’s “Borgias”

Jeremy Irons will star in his first regular TV series role in “The Borgias”, Showtime’s new historical drama which is being lined up as a replacement for its outgoing “The Tudors” which airs its final season this Spring.

Set in late 15th century Italy, the story follows the powerful and ruthless noble family who used adultery, theft, rape, bribery, incest and murder to achieve their ends. Patriarch Rodrigo (Irons) used his influence to become Pope Alexander VI and sired several children during his corrupt and terror-fuelled eleven-year reign at the Vatican. His politically scheming son Cesare was said to have inspired Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, while his daughter Lucrezia is famous to this day for poisoning men including her husbands.

“The Tudors” showrunner Michael Hirst will serve in a similar capacity on the ten-episode first season of “The Borgias” while acclaimed filmmaker Neil Jordan (“Interview with the Vampire,” “The Crying Game”) will executive produce the series and direct the first two episodes. Jordan penned both the pilot and the ‘bible’ (reference document) for the series based on the material he’s been collecting and trying to film for years.

Jordan came very close several times, most notably in 2002 and 2006, before the $55 million project fell apart at the last minute due to financing issues. Back in 2002 the cast included Ian McKellan as Rodrigo, Ewan McGregor as Cesare, Christina Ricci as Lucrezia, and John Malkovich as Machiavelli.

Filming on the series kicks off in the Spring for airing in early 2011. DreamWorks Television and Imagemovers are producing.