Miramax Television sets Dev Patel to star in ‘The Key Man’ as company ramps up international content

EXCEPTIONAL: Dav Patel is set to headline and executive produce The key man, a limited series telling the story of disgraced financier Arif Naqvi. Set in the Middle East, the project hails from Miramax Television. It’s part of the company’s increased international focus, signaled by the hiring three years ago of former NBCUniversal International Studios executive Mark Hellwig — who has deep connections in the European television industry — as Miramax’s global head of television.

Mark Hellwig

Mark Hellwig

Tapping into the independent studio’s IP library is a big priority for Hellwig and his team, who have helmed series based on such Miramax films as The Gentlemen, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Gangs of New York, Chocolate, The English Patient and Ready to wearand created a revival of Miramax TV’s first unscripted series Project Green Light.

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The directors behind some of the films are also involved in the television adaptations, including The gentleman writer-director-producer Guy Ritchie, who wrote, directed and executive produced the Netflix series of the same name, and Gangs of New York director Martin Scorsese, who is attached to executive produce and helm the potential spinoff of the series.

The key man joins a significant number of Miramax Television series that are developed and produced internationally, incl Gentlemen, who filmed in and around London; and Chocolate, which is being developed as a French-language TV series with Mediawan; as well as several series based on book IPs rather than Miramax library titles, The Turkish Detective for Paramount, which wrapped production in Istanbul; The henna artist with Frida Pinto on Netflix, which will be filmed in India if it gets the green light; The Christie Affair, with Daisy Ridley, who is working in the UK; and adaptation of The big secret (Title in English: The Immortals), also part of a co-production deal with Mediawan.

“Miramax IP is in its very DNA internationally oriented, and so there is a natural opportunity to mine the library for domestic to global shows,” Helwig said. Additionally, “Miramax is a legacy company built on supporting innovative, new voices, and we’re bringing that essence back to television with our approach to working with many new and emerging voices in Europe and beyond,” he said.

Miramax is majority owned (51%) by Doha-based Qatari beIN Media Group, with Paramount Global holding the remaining 49%.

“The next phase of the company will see us create more connective tissue with our parent company in Doha and a stronger focus on MENA-centric drama,” Hellwig said.

The key man is an example of this.

Based on last year’s bestseller by WSJ reporters Simon Clarke and Will Luach, it chronicles how Arif Naqvi (Patel), a charismatic Pakistani businessman who is the founder of the Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj. Brilliant and inspiring, Naqvi became a global sensation as he built a multi-billion dollar empire, convincing the global elite and titans of industry that the incredible key to solving poverty, hunger and political unrest was through his highly profitable investments. Entangled in the world of popes, presidents and profits, Arif’s empire crumbles when his false promises backfire.

Patel is executive producing along with Scott Delman (Station 11) and Florence Sloan (Crime Delhi), who selected the book.

Three years into Helwig’s tenure, Miramax Television achieved its original goal of having three series on the air — more than the company had produced in the past decade — Ritchie’s Gentlemen on Netflix, Project Green Light with Issa Rae on HBO Max and The Turkish Detective at Paramount.

The next goal is to expand the roster to six series over the next three years, Hellwig said. Among the Hopeful is a drama based on Gong show the memoir of host Chuck Barris Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which was adapted into the film directed by George Clooney. Although Justin Timberlake is no longer attached to play Barris, the project remains in active development on Apple TV+ and is currently in the process of hiring a director.

The slumdog millionaire star Patel makes his feature directorial debut with the upcoming Ape-man for Netflix, in which he also co-wrote and stars. He is repped by CAA and Sol 22. Clark and Lutch are repped by UTA.

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