National Geographic Channel
Recently wrapped freshman series GENIUS has announced its subject for season two will be Pablo Picasso. Season one, which according to National Geographic Channel was seen by 45 million people around the world, centered on scientist Albert Einstein.
“Pablo Picasso was someone who saw the world in a completely different way,” said showrunner Ken Biller. “It was important to us to make a declarative statement. Genius is not only about scientists.”
Biller, who executive produces alongside Imagine Entertainment’s Ron Howard, also said they went through a wide-ranging list of men and women before choosing Picasso. Biller went on to say that Picasso is one of the “iconic figures in history who changed the way we see the world and were striving for goals that other people hadn’t even thought to set.
Howard helmed Genius, which was filled with muted tones in its first season. For the artist Picasso, who created such works as “Guernica” and “Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon”, the look of the show will alter to fit the subject’s lively life and works. The series will again depict both older and younger versions of Picasso, played by different actors. As of now, the creative team has not optioned any biographical source to base the series on.
The choice of Picasso may expand the definition of “genius” for the series, but it is also keeps the anthology series in a similar time period. Both Picasso and Einstein were born in the late 19th century and died mid-20th century. Einstein also published his theory of relativity in 1905 and, just two years later, Picasso would paint “Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon”. These contemporaries, while not directly connected to one another, were reimagined in Steve Martin’s play Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Martin has had a film version in the works over the years, but none have come to fruition.
Biller and Howard executive produce with Brian Grazer and OddLot’s Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane. Fox 21 Television and EUE/Sokolow are also producers.
Emily J | TV Editor