Devils: the high-finance thriller based on real-life headline stories
Shot in Rome and London, Devils was Sky Italia’s top scripted series launch in nearly a year – ahead of both Chernobyl and The New Pope. The series has already sold to 160 territories and been renewed for a second season.
Based on the bestselling book by Italian trader Guido Maria Brera, Devils is a high-tension thriller set in the world of the millionaire money-men.
Italian Golden Globe winner, Venice Film Festival award winner and Berlin Film Fest Shooting Star Alessandro Borghi (Suburra) stars in his first English role as Massimo Ruggero, a charismatic and fearless Italian banker. With a stellar track record on the London trading ﬂoor of investment powerhouse NYL Bank, Massimo is a shoo-in for promotion to vice-CEO.
But when Massimo suddenly finds himself under suspicion for murder, it leads him to uncover a vast political game-plan orchestrated by the devils who rule the world’s financial fate. Caught in the middle of a covert, intercontinental war, Massimo must make a stark choice: join them, or bring them down.
This fast-paced, ruthless tale anchors itself in real-life headline stories, from the Argentine crisis and the recessions in Ireland and Greece to the Strauss-Kahn scandal, building from drama to thriller as it paints an ominously topical picture of the power wielded by the world’s top financiers.
Dempsey, a Golden Globe nominee and three-time People’s Choice winner whose 15-year stint as Dr Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy made him a household name, plays Dominic Morgan, NYL’s American CEO and Massimo’s mentor (to begin with, anyway).
Black Reel nominee Malachi Kirby (Roots, Black Mirror), BAFTA nominee Laia Costa (Victoria), and International Emmy winner Lars Mikkelsen (House of Cards, The Witcher) also feature.
Emmy nominee Nick Hurran (Sherlock) directs two-thirds of the series, with Emmy- and BAFTA-winning cinematographer Neville Kidd (Sherlock, Outlander) behind the camera.
In an interview with WorldScreen, Dempsey said, “It was fun just to play a different character, and to go into the relationship, the power struggle and also the level of subtext. We’re saying one thing … but we’re meaning something else.”
On getting to grips with the world of high finance, he says, “Guido would give us reading assignments, certain things to watch and to read, that really helped. … There was a great documentary called The Four Horsemen, which is about finances, and that was a wonderful thing that was very informative. And then you start to watch the market, and you start to talk to the bankers and [learn] what they’re doing…”
Borghi agrees that one of the most curious things about shooting the series was talking to real bankers. “Incredible!” he says, “I had a completely different knowledge of that world, and right now I have another point of view completely.”
The interview took place shortly before the Covid-19 crisis struck, but Dempsey’s views are more relevant than ever: “We’re still paying the price of [the] financial crisis, and we’re going into another one right now. Democracies are really fragile, and the unsustainable nature of capitalism, I mean, that type of growth … we have to pull back. We really do have to look at how we’re living in the world.”
Devils is “a story of power, secrets and deceptions at the center of a financial thriller as taught as a violin string,” says Cinematographe. Wired (It) praised its “international feel”, “magnetic protagonist” and “star power”, saying Devils “has an extraordinary heart – a cold heart that warms up slowly, showing humanity beyond ambition: and this heart is Alessandro Borghi.”
If you loved The Wolf of Wall Street and you’re hooked on Billions, this stylish, sophisticated international thriller is set to be your next binge addiction.