Italian producer Andrea Iervolino - whose credits include Michael Mann’s Ferrari, Oscar-nom Tell It Like a Woman and Waiting for the Barbarians - has invested $55m in the development of Tuscany Film Studios.
The technologically-advanced $55m (€50m) studio will be situated outside Florence, with construction commencing this autumn, and completion expected by autumn 2024.
Iervolino’s plans to build a backlot with both traditional sound stages and spaces dedicated to virtual reality — set to be the largest VR studio complex in Italy — and 360-degree production.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter Roma, Iervolino explained his vision: "My idea is simple," he said.
“To create an avant-garde film hub in a place that is, in itself, one of the most beautiful in the world, where stars would gladly come to shoot… I was in Rome the other day, dining with James Franco. I told him about the project, which is already in the operational phase, and he said, ‘I would come to shoot there tomorrow!”
“Live action 360-degree cinema is the great frontier of the future,” said Iervolino, saying his new studios will be equipped to produce content for new VR headsets, like Apple’s Vision Pro. “We’ve already acquired a huge library of backgrounds and scenery from around the world, meaning, even for 360-degree immersive reality, there will be no need to go to Siberia or Bangkok to shoot a scene set in Siberia or Bangkok.”
Together with a cinema and production offices, the complex will also house a luxury hotel with the aim of luring major international productions to the country.
"The hotel will be a luxury resort designed to accommodate the actors who will come to film at our studios. It will also be open to private customers. At the same time we will organise visits to the surrounding area, to wine estates. We plan to connect quality tourism with film production.”
The announcement comes as Italy is witnessing a production boom courtesy of the country’s 40% incentive for international productions, and the Italian government’s support for Rome's legendary Cinecittà studio.
Elsewhere, Iervolino is producing a feature length biopic about the Maserati brothers, titled Maserati: a Racing Life through his joint production outfit Iervolino & Lady Bacardi Entertainment.