‘The Decameron’: Netflix Orders 14th Century Soapy Drama From Kathleen Jordan & Jenji Kohan

‘The Decameron’: Netflix Orders 14th Century Soapy Drama From Kathleen Jordan & Jenji Kohan

August 18, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: Following the success of Shonda Rhimes-produced steamy Regency romance Bridgerton, Netflix is betting on another soapy period drama produced by a top showrunner from its roster of overall deals, Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan. The streamer has given an eight-episode series order to The Decameron, from Kathleen Jordan, creator of Netflix’s Teenage Bounty Hunters, and Kohan who executive produced the teen drama alongside her.

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Created by Jordan, who serves as showrunner, The Decameron is set in 1348 when the Black Death, the deadliest pandemic in human history which killed as many as 200 million people, strikes hard in the city of Florence. A handful of nobles are invited to retreat with their servants to a grand villa in the Italian countryside and wait out the pestilence with a lavish holiday. But as social rules wear thin, what starts as a wine-soaked sex romp in the hills of Tuscany descends into an all out scramble for survival.

The series examines the timely themes of class systems, power struggles and survival in a time of pandemic with a touch of levity, brought together by a charming and riotous ensemble of characters.

It is loosely inspired by The Decameron, the famous collection of witty, racy and sometimes tragic short stories about love by the 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio. Jordan reportedly drew from the period and the setting of The Decameron, considered a masterpiece of classic Italian prose, but almost the entirety of her creative vision for the series is original.

“Kathleen Jordan is the real freakin’ deal,” Kohan said. “I am so excited and grateful that I get to work with her and we get to make this awesome, funny, timely, weird show together for Netflix.”

Jordan executive produces The Decameron with Kohan, Blake McCormick and Tara Herrmann for Tilted Productions as well as Mike Uppendahl (Ratched, American Crime Story) who set to direct. The series is expected to film in Italy.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that I get to work with Jenji, Tara, Blake, and Netflix again,” Jordan said. “I can’t wait for people to meet this ridiculous group of characters. I’m sure Giovanni Boccaccio would be… confused?”

Boccaccio’s The Decameron has been very influential in the seven centuries since its release in literary works such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, William Shakespeare’s play All’s Well That Ends Well and Molière’s play L’école des maris. It has had a number of screen adaptations, most notably the 1971 Pier Paolo Pasolini film The Decameron.

Jordan created and co-executive produced Netflix’s Teenage Bounty Hunters and also wrote for Lifetime’s American Princess. Both series were executive produced by Kohan, creator/exec producer of Showtime’s Weeds and Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black and exec producer of Netflix’s GLOW and Social Distance.

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