15 NOV 2022

Miguel Menéndez: “‘Boundless’ is a story that needed to be told”

Producer Miguel Menéndez de Zubillaga and director Simon West talk about their latest project, ZDF Studios’ six-part series "Boundless - Magellan’s and Elcano’s Journey to the Edge of the Earth."


Simon West and Miguel Menéndez de Zubillaga


In June this year, ZDF Studios acquired the distribution rights of "Boundless - Magellan’s and Elcano’s Journey to the Edge of the Earth," the story of the first circumnavigation of the Earth by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The show is produced by Mono Films in coproduction with Fulwell 73 Productions, in association with RTVE, in collaboration with Prime Video, and in cooperation with ZDF Studios.

Directed by Simon West, “Boundless” tells the story of Juan Sebastián Elcano and Ferdinand Magellan and their voyage 500 years ago in pursuit of the mythical Spice Islands. Five Spanish ships and 265 men departed Spain on an expedition to discover an unknown passage to the other side of the world. After three years of starvation, merciless storms, freezing temperatures, mutinies, and madness, a ghost ship barely returned home with only 18 survivors and a hull full of spices. The voyage changed the world, finally proving that the Earth was round and teeming with life.

“I spent my summers in a little town close to the town where Elcano was born. I was surprised that no one has ever told this story in fiction. There were a few documentaries, but no one has ever told the whole tale, and this is a story that needed to be told. Many people know about Magellan, although probably not the real story, and definitely no one knows about Elcano. Thanks to Prime Video, people now are able to understand the real story of the first circumnavigation of the globe,”  producer Miguel Menéndez de Zubillaga told Señal News.

Taking on the lead role as Magellan is top actor Rodrigo Santoro, who starred alongside in HBO hit “Westworld.” Playing the part of Elcano, the unimaginable hero who left as a prisoner and came back as a Captain, is Álvaro Morte, well known to audiences globally as The Professor in “Money Heist.”

“I have always loved epic and adventurous stories. I also love anything that it has to do with ships and sailing, and I love history. This was one of the most incredible stories. Once I started reading the script, I got excited, and I stayed excited until now. It is such a huge story that we tried to fit into a six-part series. Luckily, as this is an independent production, we had no creative restrictions,”  director Simon West added while speaking to Señal News.

Logically, bringing to the screen such a complicated story that involved ships, oceans and a large number of actors was not easy at all. “Firstly, there is a physical limit, as the audience has to believe the story is being shot around the whole world, while we were shooting in just the Dominican Republic and Spain. Then, we had to make the cast look like they were starving, so the costumes had to help, the make-up, the lighting. We had to convince the audience that those people were going through hell, even though the actors were living like princes,”  West explained.

One of ZDF Studios’ highlights both for Mipcom Cannes last October and now at MIP Cancun, "Boundless - Magellan’s and Elcano’s Journey to the Edge of the Earth" is available since June 2022 through Prime Video in Spain, Latin America, United States, UK, France, and Germany. “The result is amazing, much greater than expectations. We launched strong in many territories, like Germany, for example, where we were number one. That means the show is doing pretty well,”  Miguel Menéndez de Zubillaga assured.

By Diego Alfagemez and Federico Marzullo