The Netflix series Florida Man is set to debut in April 2023, Netflix announced today:
We’ve all seen the meme. We’ve all seen the headlines about a seemingly singular “Florida man” breaking laws in the most creative ways imaginable: “Florida Man Arrested for [fill in blank with wild crime, possibly involving alligators].”
On April 13, a new series comes to Netflix from Jason Bateman’s production company, Aggregate Films, and it digs way deeper into the swamp than a news snippet can.
Florida Man follows one particular man from Florida, Mike Valentine (Edgar Ramírez), a recovering gambling addict who reluctantly returns to his home state when mob boss Moss (Emory Cohen) sends him to find his missing girlfriend, Delly (Abbey Lee).
In the scorching Florida heat, Mike gets caught up in situations that would put some of the best “Florida man” memes to shame. He finds out that he can’t quite escape the hometown he tried to leave behind.
Creator and showrunner Donald Todd knows his subject intimately — he was born and raised in the southernmost US peninsula. “As I grew up, I never stopped thinking about why Florida is Florida,” he recalls.
“Florida is a thin layer of porous crust on top of a hundred feet of water, and it’s maybe a few feet above sea level… it might all sink. So when you feel that everything is temporary, you take what you can when you can get it. A ‘Florida man’ is someone who’s proudly independent and doesn’t live by your code, which means he doesn’t live by any code.”
What fascinated Todd and Ramírez most about Mike Valentine is that he’s stuck in the middle of two lives — an ex-cop and ex-gambler who’s trying to make good but who’s still indebted to a mobster.
“And that’s the most dangerous place anybody can be,” says Todd, “especially if you’re going to a place that’s not gonna give you any guidance morally. Mike feels that he’s a hero and just needs one more day to prove it… then one more after that.”
The central question of Florida Man is: “How did we get here?” “[People] laugh at the mug shots and the headlines,” says Todd, “but what’s the story behind the meme?” Meme aside, the Sunshine State is unlike any other, and it’s the perfect backdrop for a character-driven thriller.
“The brightest sun casts the darkest shadows,” Todd says, “so people can hide in shadows. All of that creates an ethos that’s perfect for a bright and noirish crime story.”