Netflix’s new £60-million drama Marco Polo is released on Friday (12th December) and set to be filled with martial arts, battle scenes and dramatic backdrops.
Filmed in a jungle in Malaysia, the deserts of Kazakhstan and along the canals of Venice, it stars unknown actor Lorenzo Richelmy as the explorer, who set off on foot along the Silk Road to discover Asia nearly 800 years ago.
British actor Benedict Wong (Prometheus) also has a leading role as the great Mogol ruler Kublai Khan (the grandson of Genghis Khan), who meets Polo on his journey and invites him to court. Meanwhile, familiar Chinese faces include Tom Wu (Skyfall), Remy Hii (Treading Water) and Zhu Zhu (Cloud Atlas), who plays Polo’s love interest in the series.
Writer John Fusco (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon II), director Dan Minahan (Game of Thrones, True Blood) and producer Harvey Weinstein (Gangs of New York) are behind the eagerly anticipated project. Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos explained: “In this commanding, epic story of Marco Polo, through the magnetic cast they’ve assembled, the spectacular martial arts work they are showcasing and the exotic locations that serve as a backdrop, they have really outdone themselves.”
“[Marco Polo] felt like a kindred spirit,” says writer John Fusco, who is of Italian heritage and has always been fascinated by the Far East. He rode through central Mongolia on horseback and along the Silk Road with his son before writing the show.
“We were tracing the Genghis Khan trail and living with nomads. I kept coming across Marco Polo, who was such a part of that world, and the wheels started turning.” The only way to capture the essence of the Mogol Empire would be to shoot on location in Asia.
See below for a sneak-peek and the official trailer: