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Old 01-22-2011, 03:36 AM   #1
Le Saboteur
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In the Footsteps of Marco Polo




In 1993 two friends set off on a journey that would consume two years of their lives. One was a former Marine, the other an award winning photographer and sculptor. With limited finances the two would retrace Marco Polo's entire 24,000-mile route; from Venice to China & back again by boat, camel, horse, and foot. The trip would take them through Afghanistan, today's Tajikistan, and along the Silk Road into China.

It's something that hasn't been accomplished in over 700-years, and thanks to the 'net and PBS we can travel along with them on their journey!

Watch the full episode. See more THIRTEEN Specials.



If you don't feel like watching the embedded file, check out the site here.

You can also check out a photo gallery here.



Last edited by Le Saboteur : 01-22-2011 at 03:49 AM.
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Old 03-02-2014, 05:08 AM   #2
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Yes, I'm bumping my own thread. No other thread on Marco Polo appears to exist and it's far, far too early to begin contemplating an independent thread.

First and foremost, it would seem that my previous link to the documentary has vanished. However, some kind soul has uploaded it in full to YouTube.

Enjoy.



I was initially waiting for something more concrete, but it's worth mentioning now: Netflix has commissioned a new series based on the life and exploits of Marco Polo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hollywood Reporter
Marco Polo focuses on the famed explorer’s journey, which takes him to the center of a brutal war in 13th century China -- a world replete with astonishing martial arts, sexual intrigue, political skullduggery and spectacular battles.

"John Fusco and his team have created a timeless tale of power, adventure, betrayal and lust that combines deft storytelling and cinematic ambition,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said. "It is a fantastic addition to our slate of original series, both because of its quality and because it is the kind of gripping action-adventure that Netflix members love."

Full article: Netflix Orders 'Marco Polo' to Series

I'm both intrigued and concerned with that premise, but with Game of Thrones as their model and Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg of Kon Tiki fame on board to helm the series I am inclined to see positive things ahead!

Location shooting in Mainland China still appears to be out, but they are commencing production at Pinewood Malaysia's massive studio.
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Old 05-10-2014, 06:16 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
I was initially waiting for something more concrete, but it's worth mentioning now: Netflix has commissioned a new series based on the life and exploits of Marco Polo!


A few unofficial behind the scenes snaps have found their way onto the 'net as principle filming has commenced in Venice, Italy. But since you can't begin filming without a cast, let's get that out of the way.

Lorenzo Richelmy appears to be making his English language debut in the titular role of Marco Polo. Filling out the roster are Benedict Wong (Prometheus), Tom Wu (Skyfall), Remy Hii (Treading Water) and Rick Yune (Olympus Has Fallen). No details on what roles they'll play, but that's an intriguing collection of talent assembled thus far. It'll be interesting to see who else they bring on as the production moves on to Kazakhstan and eventually to that massive Pinewood complex in Malaysia.

Full article: Netflix's 'Marco Polo' Sets Cast

The series is looking to make its debut in late 2014 on Netflix's streaming service.



Look at the beard on that guy!



Navigate your gondola this way for some more behind the scenes pictures.

It's real and it's going to be glorious.

The first two episodes are still being helmed by the guys behind Kon Tiki before they run off to try and salvage Captain Jack's dignity... or lack there of. With the rumors floating around these two episodes will be amongst the priciest ever*, I'm expecting a visual cornucopia if nothing else.

* - The final season of Friends -- of all things! -- clocked in at a hefty ten million bucks per episode, but that was mostly eaten up by actor salaries. Rome, at $9-million per episode, still holds the distinction of being the most expensive to produce. And boy howdy was Marc's Antony worth it!
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Old 08-29-2014, 03:46 AM   #4
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Well, Netflix's Marco Polo finally has an air date. Set to debut in December of 2014, the ten part series will be available on-line on December, 12th, 2014 @ 12014 PST!

As previously announced, newcomer Lorenzo Richelmy will step in as the titular explorer. Benedict Wong will play Kublai Khan. Mainland Chinese actress Zhu Zhu (Cloud Atlas) will play Polo's love interest, with Joan Chen, Remy Hii, Olivia Chen, Claudia Kim, Uli Latukefu, Tom Wu and Chin Han rounding out the cast!

To coincide with the announcement, the streaming company has released a couple of official snaps.





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Old 08-29-2014, 01:59 PM   #5
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Nice shots so far. Can't wait to see this series on Netflix soon!
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Old 10-01-2014, 05:55 AM   #6
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The unusually fine folks over at the LA Times' Hero Complex have a nice write up on the series' origins.

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Originally Posted by The Los Angeles Times
"It's a giant adventure. The only thing on TV that matches it, production-scale wise, is 'Game of Thrones,'" said Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Co. is producing the series. Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, refused to discuss the cost but described the series as "work you'd only see on the very big screen. This is hard to do with the business model of conventional television."

Like HBO did with "Thrones," Netflix is putting its money on spectacle rather than big-name stars. Lorenzo Richelmy, the 24-year-old Italian in the title role, has never even had a major English-language part before. Benedict Wong, who's portraying Kublai Khan, is known mainly in Britain as a TV and stage actor. The most familiar face in the series may be Joan Chen ("The Last Emperor," "Twin Peaks"), who's playing Khan's favorite wife, Empress Chabi.

Full article can be viewed here.
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:02 AM   #7
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Marvel's latest reason to print money has dominated the 'net over the past couple of days, but outside of that brouhaha there was one exciting piece of news that slipped by -- Netflix has released the first trailer for their forthcoming Marco Polo series! And boy is it a doozy.



Dig the colors; the on-location sets and production; the costumes! The potential on display here is absolutely phenomenal. Even the action sequences look like they're going to be par excellence.

December 12th can't get here fast enough!
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:45 AM   #8
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A few still shots clipped from the trailer. Dig the detail.








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Old 11-08-2014, 07:20 AM   #9
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"We're going to take you on an action packed Silk Road journey," says Marco Polo's producer John Fusco. And based on that first teaser and this new behind-the-scenes featurette, they certainly aim to hit the ground running!

There are some glimpses of the scope of the series throughout including a snippet on the Great Wall. Dig the metal work on Khublai Khan's golden armor as well. It's swell. So is Lorenzo Richelmy's accent.






Let's hope they get some evocative music going as well, like this pipa tune.

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Old 11-13-2014, 04:08 AM   #10
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Now that we're thirty days out from the series premiere, there should be a bevy of features/trailers/whatever hitting the 'net (and bus shelters everywhere!). To start off, Netflix has released a piece of key art featuring the titular hero.




This reminds me a lot of that style Ridley Scott came to epitomize with Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, and Robin Hood. A lot of current Chinese-language historical action flicks have adopted a similar aesthetic as well; i.e., The Warlords, The Guillotines, Fall of Ming, etc.

This picture is intriguing. Will there be battles featuring the horseback archery the Mongols were known for? I don't know about you, but that would be damn impressive.



Come on, baby, and ride it.

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Old 11-18-2014, 05:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
Come on, baby, and ride it.


Choo choo, baby, choo choo.


As predicted, Netflix has released a full trailer for the period action-drama. While it recycles some of the same footage from the teaser, there are some new angles and we get to hear Kublai Khan's voice for the first time and find out who the Golden Horde's antagonists are going to be.

This is why you film on location whenever possible, kids.




Netflix has really stepped out of their comfort zone here, but absolutely everything looks spot on. It would be a shame if this didn't find an eager audience. And it should. There's nothing quite like it in the offing thus far.
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Old 11-21-2014, 05:44 AM   #12
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Netflix has released official key art for most of the other principle players that Polo is going to encounter during his exploits in the Great Khan's Khanate!

You can check them out exclusively at The Hollywood Reporter!


Kublai Khan (Benedict Wong)





Hundred Eyes (Tim Wu)

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Old 11-30-2014, 06:11 AM   #13
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With just under two-weeks to go before the series premiere, reviews (unread by me) are starting to find their way on-line. And in addition to reviews, other aspects of the production are being discussed, like the business component and the potential for Netflix to have a true global hit on their hands. Check out the embedded video in the article for some nifty behind-the-scenes details and the spectacular rendition of Kublai Khan's court.

We also have a new action-oriented trailer courtesy of Samsung USA(?)!



If that doesn't whet your appetite then... well, you might just be dead inside.

December 12th can't get here soon enough!

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Old 12-02-2014, 06:21 AM   #14
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There's a small trove of pictures and clips over at the series' official Twitter page. You can even see Vine-like snippets like the one below!





The Hype Train rolls on!


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Old 12-05-2014, 05:52 PM   #15
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Thank you very much for these videos, pictures and updates @Le Saboteur, I've been reading and viewing them with interest, and it's a pleasure to see your enthusiasm for the series.

I'm a big fan of historical movies and series, and this looks amazing so far, the production values seem to be of top quality.
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Old 12-09-2014, 05:35 AM   #16
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Thank you very much for these videos, pictures and updates @Le Saboteur, I've been reading and viewing them with interest, and it's a pleasure to see your enthusiasm for the series.



So that's two of the sixteen people who keep ticking that page view counter ever so slightly upwards. Glad to be of service!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Jones VII
'm a big fan of historical movies and series, and this looks amazing so far, the production values seem to be of top quality.


Absolutely. The production design is fabulous. For $90-million it should be, but equally as impressive -- there's supposed to be no CGI! Yes, all effects are done in camera or practical. That's an achievement unto itself if true (I haven't been able to confirm this aside from a couple of lines in an article), but I am eager to see if they'll be able to create the expanse of the Khan's court with physical sets*. If they can, it's going to be impressive.

* - The Emperor & the Assassin is a wonderful example of this. It came out in... '99(?) so it might be hard to come across, but some construction magnate built all the sets from scratch for free in exchange for shooting in his home province. The movie is impressive on all fronts, but the expanse of the sets is impressive.

If anybody reading this has a Netflix account, there is a fourth trailer that I haven't been able to find on-line. It's titled "Mercy." In the meantime, here's another behind-the-scenes look courtesy of PlayStation!



Extra points for the actors doing their own stunts. For me this hits on three of my interests; historical fiction, stories in far flung lands, and the action-adventure aspect.

3 days to go!

There are a bunch of character promos on the Twitter account too!
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Old 12-11-2014, 04:58 AM   #17
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With just under 24-hours to go before the series finally makes its debut, a lot of snarky reviews have found their way on-line. While I've only scanned them for content, the one up at Deadline is the most even handed. He's also equally keen on Benedict Wong's turn as Kublai Khan.

Netflix did release a new trailer, but it's the same one as the Samsung presented trailer we got several days back. Just scroll up a couple of posts and hit play! You'll be glad you did. After you're done with that, do check out these...uh, family trees (of sorts). They'll help you understand the various relationships at the beginning at least.



There's one for the Song Dynasty too! Too little time has been spent on them in the previews for my taste.

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Old 12-16-2014, 06:09 AM   #18
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I appreciate a good title sequence. Done right and they can really set the mood and/or fill in pertinent details. There have been several exceptional ones in recent memory too.

Marco Polo's is certainly evocative! I'll give them that.


Marco Polo Title Sequence from The Mill on Vimeo.



A quick behind-the-scenes glance at the amount of work that went into creating those ninety-seven seconds!

Behind the Scenes: Marco Polo Title Sequence from The Mill on Vimeo.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
Let's hope they get some evocative music going as well, like this pipa tune.

No dice on the pipa music yet, but the soundtrack does an job of interspersing Mongolian Throat Singing throughout the series thus far. If you've never heard it before, give a listen! It's impressive the way a practitioner cam be produce two distinct sounds from his throat at the same time.



Have you binge watched yet?! Finished the first season? Not me. I can't stand binge watching, and I'm only two episodes in, but I like what I see so far!
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
For me this hits on three of my interests; historical fiction, stories in far flung lands, and the action-adventure aspect.
Yes, yes & yes. Check, check & check. Me too, me too & me too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
So that's two of the sixteen people who keep ticking that page view counter ever so slightly upwards. Glad to be of service!
Count me in. I have now subscribed to Netflix for the sole reason of being able see this show (and wouldn't have known about it if this thread didn't exist).

---
Who here used to play the Marco Polo game in the neighbourhood swimming pool? I did.
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Old 12-18-2014, 06:01 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
Yes, yes & yes. Check, check & check. Me too, me too & me too.
Count me in. I have now subscribed to Netflix for the sole reason of being able see this show (and wouldn't have known about it if this thread didn't exist).

That's three. You'd think there'd be more, but I guess they're still scouring the entertainment section of the Manila Bulletin.

---
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
Who here used to play the Marco Polo game in the neighbourhood swimming pool? I did.

Who didn't?! Though, one of these episodes is rumored to explain how the game got it's start. If true, that could be fun.

Seen the first episode? This will make a lot more sense when you do.

A video posted by Marco Polo (@marcopolomp) on




I don't think that's a king cobra, though. It looks more like a regular Indian cobra.

Once you're finished with the series, start digging into the behind-the-scenes stuff. The directors of the opening credit sequence are interviewed about the project here.

Quick note: I watch things slowly. Feel free to watch at whatever pace you like, but let's discuss at my pace. I'd rather not have to step out of this thread until I'm done. So far I've finished episode two.
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Old 12-30-2014, 05:17 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
If anybody reading this has a Netflix account, there is a fourth trailer that I haven't been able to find on-line. It's titled "Mercy."

It's now online as of a week ago.



Not much different than the others, but there's some new footage and dialogue sprinkled throughout.

If you're like me and are intrigued by costume design and set decoration, do swing by the production's Instagram page. There's a lot of nifty things hidden away there.

A photo posted by Marco Polo (@marcopolomp) on


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Old 07-22-2015, 06:06 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
Have you binge watched yet?! Finished the first season? Not me. I can't stand binge watching, and I'm only two episodes in, but I like what I see so far!


Same question as before: Did anybody else watch? Did you finish Season 1? I watched the first seven(?) episodes then randomly stopped for some reason I can no longer remember, but have just restarted the series in anticipation of Season 2 debuting later this year! Yes, that's right! Netflix opted to produce another season of the historical action-drama!

And if you did finish the season, please use the appropriate spoiler tags on your posts when discussing pivotal scenes and events!



Though, I wanted to bump this thread to let you know that Netflix has picked up the streaming rights to The Physician. Based on the book of the same name, the story features a young man who journeys to Persia in order to advance the dismal state of medicine in the West during the Dark Ages.

Initially published in the eighties to little fanfare in the States, it was a massive hit in Europe. Especially in Germany and Spain. Production reflects this -- Spanish and German financing, filmed in English, with Continental sensibilities. A four hour version aired on television in Germany, but we get the 2.5-hour theatrical release.

It's available now on Netflix's streaming service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hollywood Reporter
The pic opens with the traumatic passing of the mother of the young and now parentless Rob Cole (Adam Thomas Wright), who might look like a street urchin but who discovers he’s got a gift: he can tell when people are close to death. He’s apprenticed to a grouchy barber (Stellan Skarsgard), who not only cuts hair but acts as a rudimentary physician of sorts, though this being the year 1021, crude amputations and the use of leeches are about as sophisticated as it gets. Thankfully, his mother's death fuels Cole’s interest in actual healing and medicine, and his telepathic gift is only a minor part of the plot.

Once he’s absorbed the little medical knowledge of his teacher, the grown-up Cole (Payne) decides to travel to Isfahan, Persia, to study with the “doctor of doctors,” Ibn Sina (Kingsley). The trip’s an arduous one full of sacrifices that include his own foreskin: In Egypt, kneeling in front of a scenic, moonlit stretch of desert sand near the pyramids, Cole circumcises himself so he can pass for a Jew, as Christians aren’t welcomed in the Muslim lands but Jews are tolerated, if barely.



Remember adventurers!

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Old 07-22-2015, 01:55 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
Same question as before: Did anybody else watch? Did you finish Season 1?
Yes, I finished season 1 a while ago.
I found it engaging, although at times the pace is a bit slow.
Overall I'd rate it a 7/10.
Will definitely watch season 2 once it's available on Netflix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
Though, I wanted to bump this thread to let you know that Netflix has picked up the streaming rights to The Physician.
Funnily enough I watched this last night, and couldn't help noticing many similarities with MP, particularly the way that the young apprentice character is portrayed in both, including his relationship with the local tyrant.

I actually hadn't realized The Physician predated MP, but now that you pointed it out it's clear in my mind that the latter owes a lot to the former.
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:28 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z dweller
I found it engaging, although at times the pace is a bit slow.
Overall I'd rate it a 7/10.

That's fair. I've been hovering around there though the seven episodes I've managed to see. I should be finished, but I'm only up to episode 4 again.

Though, I almost wish it was slower paced. Particularly on the Polo's initial journey to Khanbaliq. There's a lot of color missed. We'll have to see what future episodes hold!

Got Twitter? If so, make an effort to follow series scribe and creator, John Fusco. He's been posting snaps from the set; filming began on the 28th of June, and should be coming to an end soon given the standard three month period for principle photography!



The principle stunt team takes a break between takes.



Colorful Mongolian garb.

You can also check out some nifty behind the scenes shots on the series' Instagram page.

Backstage with Kazakh riders for #MPSeason2 Regram via @danminahan #MarcoPolo

A photo posted by Marco Polo (@marcopolomp) on




Now I really need to stop looking this stuff up before I learn something I don't want to.
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:15 AM   #25
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That's fair. I've been hovering around there though the seven episodes I've managed to see. I should be finished, but I'm only up to episode 4 again.

The South Reveres Wudang

So why haven't you finished the first season yet?!

I did! I've been horribly remiss in putting my thoughts to paper before hurling them into ones and zeros just to be met with blank stares. No, really. I try to write them down first. But I won't bore you with the details at the moment. Instead, Netflix has a Christmas-time gift for fans! On 26 December 2015, Netflix and the Marco Polo team are bringing you a one-hour special featuring perhaps the best character in the series so far, Hundred Eyes!

A photo posted by Marco Polo (@marcopolomp) on




Dig the brief behind-the-scenes featurette and gird yourself for an hour of all-out kung-fu action!




Oh, and Season 2 is still some time off. Principal production wrapped on the 9th. Now it's time for post. 10 new episodes sometime next year!
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