Television

Emily Skopov acquires film & TV rights to Emilia Cruz detective novels

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MUMBAI: Screenwriter and director Emily Skopov has acquired the film and television rights to the Detective Emilia Cruz series by mystery author Carmen Amato.

The series, which includes the novels Cliff Diver, Hat Dance and Diablo Nights, as well as a collection of short stories, features Cruz as the first and only female police detective in Acapulco.

“Emilia is a fascinating, multidimensional character with a complex backstory. This female-driven crime series, with such an inherently dramatic setting that features glamorous resorts against the local culture of poverty and violence presents an amazing opportunity for film and episodic television adaptations," Skopov said.

Currently working with producers Michael Keyes of Something Kreative, and Zack Stentz to set up production on Three Rivers, a Pittsburgh-set gritty true-crime thriller co-written with Eddie Richey, Skopov is best known for her work on such TV fare as Xena: Warrior Princess, SyFy's Farscape, and the indie feature Novel Romance.

Having been approached by two other film producers, Amato ultimately chose to work with Skopov in large part due to their shared view that the time is right for an entertainment franchise that puts Latino characters center stage in substantial, complex and diverse roles that transcend simplistic categorizations. 

While writing the first novel, Cliff Diver, Amato found herself inspired by envisioning her "dream cast" of Latino actors breathing life into her creations.  While she's currently keeping that fantasy casting list to herself, she and Skopov are quick to point out that the talent pool to fill these roles is deep, and includes many performers who don't often get the opportunity to play fully realized human beings, nor to be part of a project that showcases a spectrum of Latino individuals and lifestyles.

With iconic Acapulco as the series' backdrop and plotting that parallels today's headlines, Skopov believes the Emilia Cruz franchise will attract English-language viewers in the United States and gain a large Spanish-language fan base in both the US and Latin America for the dubbed or sub-titled version. To support the franchise, the foreign language rights to the Emilia Cruz books are currently available. The fourth novel in the series, King Peso, is due out in late 2015.

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