AGC Television, under the leadership of Stuart Ford, is partnering with Mexican-American filmmaker Fernando Lebrija from Cielo Content and Irreversible Pictures to adapt F.G. Haghenbeck’s novel, “Primavera del Mal” (translated as “The Spring of Evil”). The series, which will be renamed “Amapola,” is a historical drama set in the early 20th century, a time when the Chinese dominated the drug trade along the Mexican-U.S. border.
In the backdrop of illicit trade, adopted siblings Raul Duval and Miguel Ying have effectively expanded their family’s opium business. Their ambitions go beyond mere cultivation as they aim to widen their influence and political power. However, their plans take an unexpected turn when American mobster Bugsy Siegel arrives in Mexico City, presenting them with a golden opportunity.
Located strategically between Nogales, Mexico, and Tucson, Arizona, the Ying family navigates the perilous waters of the drug trade that bridges Mexico and the U.S. In doing so, they strive to become the pioneers of North America’s modern drug trafficking era.
Producer Lebrija, who co-writes the series with Max Zunino, Sandra Garcia-Velten, and Rodrigo Ordonez, explains, “This is not your typical narco series. It’s the story of how the smuggling of opium and marijuana began in America in the 1900s and who were the pioneers behind this phenomenon.”
Stuart Ford and AGC Studios’ Chief Creative Officer, Lourdes Diaz, are the executive producers of the series. Lebrija emphasizes the historical significance of the story, saying, “This series is the genesis of all the narco series we know today, and without this story, none of those series would exist. This is the beginning, uniting four cultures: Americans, Chinese, Mexicans, and Italians.”
The ambitious 8-episode series is expected to begin principal photography next year and will be shot in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
This project is one of several television shows in AGC Television’s pipeline, demonstrating the company’s increasing prominence and international reach among U.S. independents. AGC Television has been involved in co-financing and co-distributing projects like “War of the Worlds,” co-producing the 2023 Platino Award-winning “News of a Kidnapping,” and producing “Leopard Skin” for Peacock.
Additionally, AGC has found success in nonfiction features, such as “Fahrenheit 11/9” and “The Tinder Swindler,” as well as high-profile series like “Those About to Die,” featuring Anthony Hopkins and a multinational cast.
Ford highlighted the shift in the entertainment landscape, stating, “In the early years, it was our film production and film sales operations that fueled the studio’s engine. But in 2024, scripted television revenues will outstrip film, and we’re also expecting the unwritten pipeline of unscripted and factual content with its solid margins to meaningfully boost the overall bottom line.”