Richard Madden
Richard Madden will play Cosimo de' Medici in "Medici: Masters of Florence." (HBO photo)

Richard Madden, Dustin Hoffman to star in Medici drama

“Game of Thrones” fans who still are missing King Robb, take heart. Richard Madden will be back on your televisions sometime next year.

Madden and Dustin Hoffman costar in “Medici: Masters of Florence,” an eight-episode series about the rise of the Medici family in 13th Century Italy and how the family’s influence made Florence the cradle of the Italian Renaissance.

The series, from Frank Spotnitz and Nicholas Meyer, begins filming this month on location in Rome and Florence, according to a news release from Spotnitz’s Big Light Productions. The production will use historic sites where many of the actual events occurred, including Palazzo Vecchio, the Basilica di San Lorenzo, and the Duomo.

Hoffman will portray family patriarch Giovanni de’ Medici, who started the Medici Bank, which became Europe’s most powerful bank. Madden is set to star as Cosimo de’ Medici, Giovanni’s son who is credited with bringing the family of bankers even greater power and influence as the unofficial rulers of Florence.

According to the release, the series dramatizes the family’s ascent from simple merchants to power brokers who sparked an economic and cultural revolution, in the process creating a long list of powerful enemies.

“The Medici came to power at a time of great social and economic inequality,” Spotnitz said in the release. “They were great disrupters. Their banking practices led to the creation of a middle class, making them unimaginably wealthy. The Medici in turn used their vast power and resources to challenge traditional thinking, ushering in a new era of revolutionary art and science such as the world had never seen. It’s a powerful story that resonates even now.”

Spotnitz, along with Matilde and Luca Bernabei of Lux Vide, serve as executive producers. Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (“The Pillars of the Earth”) will direct all eight episodes. RAI will broadcast the series in Italy, while Wild Bunch TV is overseeing international sales, launching at MIPCOM in a few weeks.

The show doesn’t have a U.S. broadcast home yet.

Here’s more about the show from the release:

The series tells the story of the illustrious family, headed by Giovanni de’ Medici, who was born the son of a wool merchant but founded a powerful bank he entrusted to his sons Cosimo and Lorenzo. With his strategic thinking, Giovanni devised a way to circumvent The Pope’s ban on “usury,” ushering in a new era of financial freedom that led to the expansion of commerce throughout Europe. The family became one of the wealthiest financiers in Europe and a political dynasty in the 15th Century and beyond. Their new power, wealth, and influence would transform banking, commerce, art, and religion well beyond Italy’s borders and reach into the modern world. In the process, the Medici would disrupt the class structure, expand the influence of the church, and empower the masses. Their rise led to the Renaissance, the most profound financial, artistic, and scientific awakening the world has ever known. But this transformation also created many powerful enemies, who would stop at nothing to destroy the Medici and what they stood for.

“After seven centuries, their story remains a compelling one, full of intrigue, power, art, and faith,” the Bernabei said in a statement. “The historic and artistic heritage they left us still lives on, and we hope that it will inspire a new Renaissance in Italy, Europe, and throughout the world. Because of the project’s cultural importance, we wanted to bring the best talents to the series, great writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz and the incomparable actors Dustin Hoffman and Richard Madden.”