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The celebrated Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez was reluctant to sell the rights to his 1967 novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” according to his son Rodrigo García.
“He believed that it could not be made under the time constraints of a feature film, or that producing it in a language other than Spanish would not do it justice,” García said in a statement to Variety.
Now, more than 50 years after its publication, Netflix has acquired the book’s rights. The streaming giant announced on Wednesday that it will adapt the novel into a Spanish language series, marking the first time the novel will be adapted for the screen.
García’s sons Rodrigo and Gonzalo García Barcha will serve as executive producers of the project, which will mainly be filmed in Colombia.
“In the current golden age of series, with the level of talented writing and directing, the cinematic quality of content, and the acceptance by worldwide audiences of programs in foreign languages, the time could not be better to bring an adaptation to the extraordinary global viewership that Netflix provides,” Rodrigo García said. “We are excited to support Netflix and the filmmakers in this venture, and eager to see the final product.”
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” — or "Cien Años de Soledad" — is the saga of the multigenerational Buendía family, whose patriarch José Arcadio Buendía finds Macondo, a fictitious town in Colombia. It's the best-known novel in the style known as magical realism, which originated in Latin America and blends supernatural or fantastical elements into an otherwise realistic setting.
The book — which has sold an estimated 50 million copies and been translated into 46 languages — earned García Márquez widespread fame. He was considered the most famous Spanish-language writer after Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the 16th-century author of "Don Quijote."
One of four novelists behind the Latin American literary boom of the 1960s and ’70s (the others are Julio Cortázar of Argentina, Carlos Fuentes of Mexico, Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru), García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982 — the first Colombian and fourth Latin American to win. He died in 2014, at 87.
“We are incredibly honored to be entrusted with the first filmed adaptation of ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude,’ a timeless and iconic story from Latin America that we are thrilled to share with the world,” Francisco Ramos, Netflix’s VP of Spanish-language originals, said. “We know our members around the world love watching Spanish-language films and series, and we feel this will be a perfect match of project and our platform.”
Netflix has found global success with other Spanish-language originals, including Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma,” which won three Academy Awards this year, and “Narcos” and "Narcos Mexico," series about the growth of Mexican cartels and the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar’s Colombian cocaine cartel in the late ’80s.