Lionsgate-owned Starzplay, Starz’s premium international streaming service, and Spain’s Bambú Producciones, producer of “Cable Girls,” are wrapping production on “Nacho,” one of Starzplay’s high-profile productions as it builds its growing international original portfolio. .
Premium US Spanish-language SVOD service Pantaya — already with Starzplay on Lucia Puenzo’s “Señorita 89,” Pablo Fendrik’s “El Refugio” and Sofia Auza and Silviana Aguirre’s “yellow” — will release “Nacho” in the US and Puerto Rico.
Starzplay distributes in Spain and Latin America. Elsewhere, Lionsgate will oversee international distribution.
Starzplay shared Variety The first-look image of an eight-part series, inspired by the life and times of Nacho Vidal, an adult film industry story. Taken to California by Rocco Siffredi in 1998, Vidal became the region’s first Spanish international mega-star.
The series is co-produced by La Claqueta in Spain. Caught on a set-visit in late June, Some of the Productions seeks to better capture not only Starzplay’s production philosophy but also Bambu’s drive to push the envelope in drama series production. Here are 8 of what “Nacho” had to say about the two.
Starzplay: Adults Only
“If you want to be relevant, you have to produce locally. There are a lot of good stories with a lot of good creative players in all these markets, especially in Spain,” said Jeff Cook, Starz senior vice president, programming, international digital network. Variety Only after the set visit.
A relatively late entrant to the game, launching mostly internationally from 2018, Starzplay’s challenge is to quickly become a relevant local player. One way is to stand out more clearly. The Starzplay series “has an adult target. We don’t want products for the whole family,” Miria Acosta, Starzplay’s development and production executive in Spain, told delegates at June’s Connect Fiction. “Nacho” is a clear case in point.
Co-production: A compelling case
“Nacho” was “primarily produced for Starzplay,” Cook said. Other titles – “Everything We Never Said” with StudioCanal, “Senorita 89” and “El Refugio” with Pantaya, Fabula and Fremantle – are co-productions. Cook commented: “It’s interesting when we can come to companies and say: ‘Look, we don’t want to do a mercenary deal. We feel you need some skin in the game, it’s your creation. We hear it’s working with us. It’s a really compelling reason to do it.” Starzplay’s other partners in a dozen or so international original series include “Das Boot” executive producer Moritz Poulter (“Night in Paradise”) and “Deutschland 83” co-creator Jörg Winger (“Ouija”). No wonder.
“Bold, hard and provocative”: Starzplay Originals
STarzplay cannot compete with the big global streamers in terms of volume production. So again, it needs to stand out in different ways. The first look photo features “Cable Girls” male lead Martino Rivas as Nacho and Maria De Nati, most recently seen in the Netflix hit “The Wrong Side of the Tracks,” as real-life Sarah Bernat, a sex worker. discovers Nacho’s extraordinary talent and takes him to perform in a sex show on stage at Sala Bagdad in Barcelona. At first Nacho can’t relax in front of a live audience. “We need series that define the brand: bold, edgy and provocative,” Cook said. “A show has to resonate, make people even scratch their heads and say: “What is this show? It’s on Starzplay, I need to know more about that service,” he added. Again, “Nacho” fits the bill.
Specific styles for different life chapters
Discovered by Spanish director José María Ponce, with whom he made his debut as an adult film actor, Vidal was taken by Rocco Siffredi to his Budapest studio and then to California. “The show really jumps through time, to different locations, to career fields,” Cook said. This opens the door to changing visual styles, he added. Bambu and Starzplay actively encouraged the three directors of the series – David Pinillos (“Cable Girls”), Beatriz Sanchis (“The Gigantes”), Eduardo Casanova (“La Pieta”) to actively pursue their hallmark visual styles. From the first look photos, the initial scenes at Sala Baghdad quite pop. “I’m allowed to be myself,” Eduardo Casanova said Variety On the set in Ibiza, which doubled for California, where he was shooting a scene of Nacho in conversation with Bellissima (Miriam Giovenelli), the costumes and decor boasted various shades of pink. He used a gold tone for Nacho’s earlier scenes in Hungary, where he begins to triumph, he added. “People in the adult industry have lived many lives in one life,” Giovanelli observed. The style of the series drives home much of the same point.
“Nacho”: Said by a woman
Fernández Valdés and fellow Bambu co-founder Ramon Campos first launched in 2007 with “Desaparecida,” bringing the speed, complexity of the plot and dark psychology to the American cable feel of Spain’s missing daughter thriller. From “Grand Hotel” (2011-13) and “Velvet” (2013-16), they sought to revolutionize female melodrama, offering series built with great production values and modern gender values to viewers whose mothers consumed telenovelas. Even with a lot of drama, “Nacho” is still very much along these lines. Showrun by Fernández-Valdés, this “Cable Girls” is written by four main female writers: Fernández-Valdés, Gemma R. Neira, Maria José Rustarazo and Flora G. Villanueva. “If this series had been written by men, it might not have seen the light of day,” Fernández-Valdés said in Ibiza. “We didn’t want this to be a show that really spoke to the male gaze behind the camera, it was important for us to have some balance,” Cook added.
….for women – same as men
“What we discovered during the investigation was that Nacho had many important women in his life, and these were often strong, sexually active women who enjoyed sex, but were able to draw the lines in terms of consent,” Fernández-Valdés said. The first part of “Nacho” opens up about his relationship with Sarah. When Vidal suggests a certain type of sex, she flatly refuses. Hungarian-born Spanish adult industry star Sophie Evans, whose portrait also appears in the series, was hired as a dancer in a street club in Asturias, northern Spain. When she learned that she was expected to work as a prostitute, she packed her bags and left that night. “At least, in Nacho’s story, I haven’t found women who feel victimized or trapped,” Fernández Valdés said.
Getting into the human dimension of Nacho….
“When we first pitched the screenplay to Starzplay, we took a well-scaled story and they said, ‘No, we’re looking for something that’s more out there, so we pitched ‘Nacho,'” Fernandez Valdes recalled. After that, Starzplay was “very interested in humanizing the characters, understanding what drives someone to become a porn actor, what his life situation is, and how he relates to his family,” she continued. “‘Boogie Nights’ was always like our North Star,” Cook added. “There’s a hobby. These aren’t victims, they want to do it on purpose. Shows have to be entertaining, but they have to have something deep, something that makes you feel something, somehow really see yourself and have some kind of empathy with the characters.
So what exactly is a “nacho”?
“It talks about identity, who you want to be, not having to conform to what society tells you to be,” Cook said. “Nacho tears up the rule-book, delimiting life with great intelligence and a complete lack of fear,” added Rivas. It also got a lot of messages, Fernandez-Valdes said. One is “Superman doesn’t fly.” “Young people want to know about sex. The easiest window of access is watching porn. But we have to tell them that this is fiction, not reality. There’s a screenplay, it’s directed at men, with women playing secondary roles. Porn cannot be seen as a model for the first night of sex.