The Killing Fields director teams with FremantleMedia International to develop series.

FremantleMedia International (FMI) and Oscar-nominated film director and writer Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields, The Mission) have agreed a co-development partnership for TV series Ugly.

Joffé will write the retelling of the French gothic Victor Hugo novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Played out against the political economic and social explosion of early 17th Century France, the series follows the life of Ugly, the physically impaired hero of the piece.

Joffé, who won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1986 for The Mission: “It’s a cruel conundrum that beauty - much as it is desirable and desired - may be a prison both for those who have it and those who want it.

“At one level we all think we know what beauty is, but there are as many different kinds of beauty as there are varieties of love. Though physical beauty may encourage the continued expansion of the population at large, it may only be inner beauty that guarantees it’s continued and continuing existence.

“In our story, Ugly is beautiful and much of what passes for beauty is ugly. Such is life, and life and love, cruelty and compassion, morals and money, are the subjects of our story.”

FMI will introduce buyers to the project at MipTV in Cannes next month.