Two-time Academy Award-nominated producer Alexander Rodnyansky (“Leviathan,” “Loveless”) is developing a new series that charts the rise of Vladimir Putin in what the producer describes as “the actual, horrifying story of how the man who changed the world got the power to do so.”
Produced by Rodnyansky’s L.A.-based production shingle AR Content, “All the Kremlin’s Men” is based on the bestseller by acclaimed reporter Mikhail Zygar, the former editor-in-chief of Russian independent station TV Rain, which was banned and disbanded in the first week of the war in Ukraine. The book is based on an extraordinary series of interviews with Putin’s inner circle.
The series will tell the story of how an unassuming ex-KGB officer became one of the most feared politicians in the world, drawing back the curtain on what goes on behind the Kremlin’s walls and revealing how Putin and his inner circle operate. It offers a timely look at the events that shaped the Russian president on his ascent to power, foreshadowing Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
“In a situation when the fate of Europe and the New World Order is decided in real time on the battlefield of Ukraine, the war that shook the foundations of modern society was launched by one man: Putin,” said Rodnyansky.
Describing the series as a Russian “House of Cards,” he added: “The show will chart not just the machinations of the various players. At its core, the story will trace the evolution of Putin’s mind.”
Even as he clamped down on domestic media, the former KGB operative in East Germany did initially try to woo the West, said the producer. But after the Iraq War, and particularly the so-called color revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, Putin felt betrayed. “The war that he wages in Ukraine is the direct result of this feeling,” said Rodnyansky. “‘All the Kremlin’s Men’ will show to the international audience how step by step, Putin’s mind dissolved into conspiracy theories, and how people around him exploited his deep fears and mistrust of Western values, which he always saw as cynical lies.”
Last year AR Content signed a first-look deal with Apple to develop and produce high-end multicultural and multi-lingual television series for Apple TV Plus. Also on the company’s slate is the Soviet-era period drama “Red Rainbow,” which won the Series Mania Forum Best Project Award last August and is written by Matt Jones and directed by Emmy-winning director Andrij Parekh. Other series in development include “Debriefing the President,” an adaptation of former CIA analyst John Nixon’s firsthand account of the interrogation of Saddam Hussein, directed by Ziad Doueiri, and “Khan,” an epic action series about Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Empire, led by showrunner Chris Collins (“Sons of Anarchy”). Fox Entertainment acquired the series’ North American rights.
Feature films on the company’s slate include “What Happens,” the first English-language film from Andrey Zvyagintsev, who partnered with Rodnyansky on the Oscar-nominated dramas “Leviathan” and “Loveless”; and “Monica,” the third feature from Kantemir Balagov, whose Rodnyansky-produced “Beanpole” won the best director prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 2019.