Based on Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award-winning novel, The Man In the High Castle hails from The X-Files alum Frank Spotnitz and Scott Free. Written by Spotnitz and to be directed by David Semel (Legends), the project set in 1962 explores an alternative reality in which Nazi Germany and Japan won World War II and occupy the United States, with the East Coast controlled by the Nazis and the West Coast owned by Japan, and a chunk of the Midwest still up for grabs. Fascism rules and the few surviving Jews hide under assumed names. But an aging Hitler has one foot in the grave, and the Japanese are preparing for an imminent Nazi stab in the back. The U.S. Resistance is scattered, scared, or crushed. The project originally was set up as a four-hour miniseries at Syfy last year. “The Man In High Castle is one of Dick’s most imaginative and captivating works and certainly one of my favorites,” Scott Free’s Ridley Scott said at the time. Scott, of course, directed the 1982 Blade Runner, one of several feature adaptations of Dick’s books, along with two versions of Total Recall (1990 and 2012), …
After presenting a slew of series panels for its upcoming series and a sizzle reel for its pilots, director of Amazon Studios Roy Price was bombarded with questions by the press at the Beverly Hilton about Amazon Prime‘s avant garde pilot process and overall strategy as a streaming network.
First gripe by the media: There’s no press site up yet to obtain materials, not to mention there’s an approximate, not exact, set of release dates for upcoming shows, i.e. Jill Soloway’s series Transparent drops in late September, Alpha House in late October, Roman Coppola, Alex Timbers and Jason Schwartzman’s Mozart in the Jungle in December and Amazon’s two dramas, Bosch and Chris Carter’s The After in 2015. Pilots Red Oaks, The Cosmopolitans, Really, Hysteria and Hand of God will be streamed to the site in August. Amazon’s third pilot process entails their customers voting on what they like before proceeding with a series commitment.
After taking a 12-year break from TV in which he surfed, climbed mountains and caught up on The Shield, The X-Files creator Chris Carter returns with his sci-fi apocalyptic theme Amazon series The After early next year. Set in Los Angeles, Carter is dealing with an ensemble cast this time around vs. the two-person team of Mulder and Scully he had on X-Files, however, it’s not a daunting prospect as he only churning out eight episodes of The After in its first season compared with the 25 episodes he was on the hook for on the Fox series. Of course, like most broadcast creators who make the change over to cable, it’s breath of fresh of air in their creative process, enabling them to never jump another shark again. However, Carter exclaimed today that he has a goal to make “99 episodes of The After. I’m serious. The influence here is Dante’s Inferno and his 99 cantos.”
Amazon Studios greenlighted single-camera comedy Red Oaks in March and has now added it to its third pilot season for premiere later this year. Written by Gregory Jacobs (The Knick) and Joe Gangemi, the series stars Craig Roberts (Submarine) as David, an assistant tennis pro at the Red Oaks Country Club in suburban New Jersey in 1985. Paul Reiser (Mad About You), Richard Kind (Luck), Jennifer Grey (It’s Like, You Know) and Oliver Cooper (Californication) also star in the pilot. Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh is attached to executive produce and David Gordon Green (Eastbound & Down) will direct and executive produce.
As we know, Amazon Studios acknowledges the existence of its pilots on its own time table. Some three months after it quietly ordered single-camera comedy Really to pilot and two months after casting it and started filming in New Orleans, the streaming service has made it official, confirming the project today. Really joins Amazon’s third season of pilots and they will be available later this year for feedback from viewers. They include The Cosmopolitans and Hand Of God, which the studio has confirmed, and Red Oaks, Hysteria, Cocked, Point Of Honor, Salem Rogers: Model Of The Year 1998, Down Dog and The Outlaws, which it hasn’t yet — along with Really.
The dramadey, written, directed by and starring Jay Chandrasekhar, part of comedy team Broken Lizard, is executive produced by Jamie Tarses and fully financed and produced by Main Street Films. Sarah Chalke, Selma Blair, Luka Jones, Travis Schuldt, Lindsay Sloane, Hayes Macarthur, Collette Wolfe and and Rob Delaney co-star in the pilot, about four hard-charging suburban Chicago couples trying to grasp on to their dwindling youth. It centers on the happily but messily married couple Jed (Chandrasekhar), and Lori (Chalke). When Jed is faced with the choice of keeping his pal’s secret or destroying his friend group, he winds up digging himself into a very deep hole. “Really …
Amazon Studios is saddling up for Point Of Honor, a Civil War drama from former Lost co-showrunner Carlton Cuse and Secretariat director Randall Wallace. I hear the streaming service is finalizing a pilot order deal for the project, to be co-produced by ABC Studios’ boutique division ABC Signature and Amazon Studios.
Point of Honor is a historical drama about a fictional family from Lynchburg, VA who find their lives and family fractured by the commencement of the Civil War. It has been a passion project for Cuse and was the first show he developed after his six-season run on the Emmy-winning ABC drama Lost. He and Wallace, who separately were both interested in doing Civil War projects, were put together by their mutual agent, WME’s Ari Greeenburg. Their ideas melded together well, and the two created the show together. The teaming gave the project two different perspectives on the war as Wallace is from the south and went to Duke and Cuse grew up in Boston and went to Harvard.
Like Lost, Point Of Honor was set up at ABC though ABC Studios during the 2010-11 season but did not go to production. Barry Jossen, then head of ABC Studios, was a big champion of the project. He is now an executive producer alongside Cuse as he was instrumental in setting the show up at Amazon. Key on the Amazon side was Amazon Studios head of drama Morgan Wandell, who also knew of the project from his days at ABC Studios. Point Of Honor had been envisioned as a major event series, a genre whose popularity has been on the rise the past couple of years. Cuse and Wallace co-wrote the script, with Wallace set to direct.
Brian Dennehy is in negotiations to star opposite Sam Trammell in Amazon Studios’ dramedy pilot Cocked. Written by Samuel Baum and Sam Shaw, Cocked centers on Richard Paxson (Trammell), a Washington D.C. management consultant who’s estranged from his father Wade (Dennehy) and brother but is pulled back in to the fray of his family’s gun manufacturing company after a corporate rival, run by their uncle, moves to take them over. Dennehy, repped by ICM Partners, was the only choice for the role and was approached shortly after the project was picked up to pilot. He has now entered formal negotiations. Co-starring in the pilot is Don’t Trust the B—- alumna Dreama Walker.
Related: 2014 Amazon Studios Pilots
I have learned that Amazon Studios has assembled the cast of Really, a single-camera comedy pilot, written, directed by and starring Jay Chandrasekhar, part of comedy team Broken Lizard. Sarah Chalke will play the female lead opposite Chandrasekhar in the project, executive produced by Jamie Tarses. Also cast in the pilot, fully financed and produced by Main Street Films, are Selma Blair, Luka Jones, Travis Schuldt, Lindsay Sloane, Hayes Macarthur and Collette Wolfe. Really, which was quietly picked up to pilot more than a month ago, revolves around a social and opinionated group of thirtysomething friends in Chicago. It centers on two of them, happily, messily married neurologist Jed (Chandrasekhar) and lawyer/mom Lori (Chalke). Their group of friends includes Fred (Jones) and his wife Joanna (Blair), Mike (Schuldt) and his wife Margaret (Sloane) as well as Hayes (Macarthur) and his significant other Alison (Wolfe). The dynamic in the group changes forever when Jed accidentally catches Mike and Joanna having a sexual liaison.
Amazon Studios traditionally doesn’t announce its pilots until they’re fully cast and starting production. That is why it this morning confirmed the first two pilots from its third pilot season — half-hour dramatic comedy The Cosmopolitans, from Whit Stillman, and one-hour drama Hand Of God, from executive producers Marc Forster, Ben Watkins, Ron Perlman, Brian Wilkins and Jeff King. Both were greenlighted in January. The Cosmopolitans, about young American expatriates in Paris searching for love and friendship, stars Adam Brody and Chloë Sevigny. Hand Of God stars Ron Perlman as a hard-living powerful judge-turned vigilante and co-stars Dana Delany and Garret Dillahunt. Yet to be confirmed are three other Amazon pilots ordered this year, single-camera comedy Red Oaks, executive produced by Steven Soderbergh and executive produced and directed by David Gordon Green, Shaun Cassidy’s drama Hysteria and Samuel Baum’s dramedy Cocked. Here are detailed descriptions and credits for The Cosmopolitans and Hand Of God:
The team behind Amazon Studios‘ series Bosch was in town on Monday, talking up the adaptation of Michael Connelly’s bestselling books. Connelly was flanked by Titus Welliver who plays the iconic antihero Harry Bosch, as well as producer Henrik Bastin of Fabrik Entertainment, and Jan Frouman and Irina Ignatiew of Fabrik owner Red Arrow. Amazon first ordered a pilot to be written by Connelly in June 2013, and the series was picked up last month. The books revolve around the eponymous veteran LAPD homicide detective. Connelly said the stories will be culled from three books with a mixture of new material that will be “true to the city of Los Angeles and the character of Harry Bosch.” The 10-episode series is set in contemporary LA and is all shot there, which was very important to Connelly when he agreed to the adaptation. He said his thinking was, “I’m not going to make a deal with anyone who doesn’t agree to make every shot in Los Angeles.” And the city was accomodating, “The real LAPD let us shoot in the real detective bureau,” the first time, he said, that’s been done.
Welliver said the character in the series is very true to the books. “He doesn’t say much, the silences and moments of solitude in the …
Amazon Studios today confirmed a second-season pickup of Garry Trudeau’s Washington, D.C. comedy series Alpha House starring John Goodman, Mark Consuelos, Clark Johnson and Matt Malloy as Republican senators living under one roof. Additionally, the service has officially picked up four of its five primetime pilots as well as two kids pilots to series. That includes Amazon’s first dramas: The After from Chris Carter, marking The X-Files creator’s return to series television, and Eric Overmyer and Michael Connelly’s Bosch, starring Titus Welliver. Newly picked-up half-hour comedy series include the Gael Garcia Bernal starrer Mozart In The Jungle, from Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, Alex Timbers and Paul Weitz, and Jill Soloway’s semi-autobiographical Transparent starring Jeffrey Tambor. Amazon’s fifth pilot, comedy The Rebels, from Ice Cube and Michael Strahan, was put on hold. There’s still no final decision on Amazon’s second freshman comedy series Betas. Its renewal for Amazon Prime has looked unlikely, but there have been talks about moving the project to a free streaming service Amazon has been mulling. The new kids series are Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street, Amazon’s first live-action series for older kids, ages 6-11, and preschooler toon Wishenpoof!
“Alpha House is a joy to work on,” said creator Trudeau, who produces the series with Elliot Webb and Jonathan Alter. “It’s fun to dance on the leading edge of streaming video, where audiences converge on server farms at all hours, besotted by John Goodman and free two-day shipping.” According to Ray Price, Director of Amazon Studios, the second batch of Amazon pilots were watched by twice as many customers as the first one. Here is more info on the newly picked-up series:
Amazon might be in the midst of planning an ad-supported streaming TV and music video service, the Wall Street Journal reported today, citing sources close to the company. Amazon isn’t talking, but if true it would be a departure from the site’s Amazon Prime subscription service for a more YouTube- and Hulu-esque model. The e-retailer spent $1 billion on content — acquired and original — last year, according to Cantor Fitzgerald as quoted by WSJ. That has included Amazon Studios‘ original series initiative, under which the service commissions pilots, made available on the Amazon Prime service for feedback from users that is taken into consideration in Amazon Studio’s series pickup decisions. Of Amazon Prime’s first two original series, comedies Alpha House and Betas, Alpha House has been renewed for a second season. Betas has not been looking good for a renewal, but we have learned that Amazon has been in talks with the show’s producers about possibly continuing the show on the proposed new free streaming service. Sources cautioned that there is no deal, with a decision whether to go with the plan or not hinging on analyzing of the economics that is being done right now. Amazon already is expected to announce its set-top box next week to rival Apple TV and Chromecast, according to our sister site BGR, so more clarity might …
EXCLUSIVE: American Pie alumna Mena Suvari is set as the lead in Amazon Studios‘ drama pilot Hysteria, from Invasion creator Shaun Cassidy, Alcon Entertainment and Universal Television. It centers on Dr. Logan Harlow (Suvari), an exceptionally bright, driven, complicated, charming but socially awkward neurologist/psychiatrist at the University of Texas Medical School who travels to her hometown of Austin to investigate a mysterious epidemic among high school girls that may be spreading through technology. Suvari, repped by ICM Partners, Alchemy Entertainment and attorney Darren Trattner, just completed an arc on NBC’s Chicago Fire.
Julian Morris (Pretty Little Liars) is set as a series regular in Amazon Studios‘ pilot Hand Of God, written by Ben Watkins, directed by Marc Forster and starring Ron Perlman. It centers on the powerful Judge Harris Pernell (Perlman), a hard-living, law-bending married man with a high-end call girl on the side who has a religious awakening and starts having visions and hearing voices through his ventilator-bound son that could be God speaking to him. Morris, repped by Gersh, Brillstein and Hamilton-Hodell, will play Paul Dobson, an actor-turned-preacher whose affinity for quick money and shortcuts have gotten him in trouble in the past.
Related: 2014 Amazon Studios Pilots
As Amazon Studios is releasing its current crop of 10 pilots today, the company already is working on the next batch. I’ve learned that Amazon has greenlighted hourlong dramedy pilot Cocked, from Lie To Me creator Samuel Baum. Written by Baum and Manhattan creator Sam Shaw, the project centers on an estranged son who must return to work with his father and brother at his family’s gun manufacturing company after a corporate rival, run by their uncle, moves to take them over. Cocked joins three other pilots recently greenlighted by Amazon Studios: drama Hand Of God, written by Ben Watkins, directed by Marc Forster and starring Ron Perlman; comedy Cosmopolitan from The Last Days Of Disco filmmaker Whit Stillman; and drama Hysteria from Invasion creator Shaun Cassidy.
Related: Amazon Releases 10 New Pilots
Amazon Releases 10 New Pilots, Including ‘Bosch’, Chris Carter’s ‘The After’, Jason Schwartzman’s ‘Mozart In The Jungle’ & Jill Soloway’s ‘Transparent’
Amazon‘s second batch of pilots — 5 primetime and 5 kids ones — are launching today on Prime Instant Video in the U.S. (you can watch them here) and LOVEFiLM in the UK. All are available for free, with viewers encouraged to give feedback, which will help Amazon brass to determine which pilots will go to series. The crop includes Amazon’s first drama pilots: The After from Chris Carter (The X-Files), and Bosch from Eric Overmyer (The Wire) and Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch). Half-hour comedy pilots include Mozart In The Jungle, from Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom), Jason Schwartzman (Saving Mr. Banks), Alex Timbers and Paul Weitz; Transparent from Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under); and Rebels, from Ice Cube and Michael Strahan. The lineup features such stars as Gael Garcia Bernal, Malcolm McDowell, and Jeffrey Tambor. The children’s pilots include pre-school shows, and new this year, shows for kids ages 6-11.
Amazon’s first group of pilots last year resulted in series pickups for Garry Trudeau’s comedy Alpha House, tech comedy Betasand and the soon to premiere kids series Creative Galaxy, Tumble Leaf and Annedroids. And while launching its second wave of pilots today, Amazon already is working on the next batch, recently greenlighting four new pilots, two comedies and three dramas and one comedy.
Here is full list of pilots available for viewing with statements from some of the creators:
Amazon Studios continues to firm up its next batch of pilot orders. I hear the company is zeroing in on comedy Cosmopolitan from The Last Days Of Disco filmmaker Whit Stillman and drama Hysteria from Invasion creator Shaun Cassidy. Cosmopolitan, which Stillman wrote and will direct and executive produce, chronicles the loves and adventures of a group of young ex-patriates in Paris. Hysteria, produced by Alcon Entertainment, centers on a doctor who travels to her hometown of Houston to investigate an epidemic among high school girls that may be spreading through technology. The projects join drama Hand Of God, written by Ben Watkins, directed by Marc Forster and starring Ron Perlman, which also is nearing official pilot green light. Stillman is with UTA and Mosaic; Cassidy with CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: I have learned that Gaumont International Television’s Barbarella has been set up at Amazon Studios, which has taken in the pilot script penned by feature writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Skyfall). I hear search is underway for a showrunner in anticipation of a pilot pickup. Barbarella is based on the character created by Jean-Claude Forest in a graphic novel and made famous in the 1968 sci-fi movie staring Jane Fonda as a sexpot tasked with finding and stopping an evil weapons inventor. The project, which has been in the works at GIT for a year and a half, is executive produced by Nicolas Refn (Valhalla Rising), who had been attached to direct, and Martha De Laurentiis, whose late husband Dino produced the 1968 movie. GIT has two other series – Hannibal on NBC and Hemlock Grove on Netflix — with a third, Narco, eyeing a green light at Netflix. Amazon Studios has five drama and comedy pilots in the works following the launch of its first original series, comedies Alpha House and Betas. Purvis and Wade are repped by UTA and Casarotto and Neil Meyer; Refn by WME.
Gael García Bernal To Star In Amazon Pilot ‘Mozart In The Jungle’; Will Yun Lee Joins USA’s ‘Novice’
EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios continues to attract big names for its pilots. Feature actor Gael García Bernal (Y Tu Mamá También, Amores Perros, Babel) has been tapped for the streaming service’s comedy pilot Mozart In The Jungle, written by Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Alex Timbers. Based on the memoir by Blair Tindal, the project is all about sex, drugs and classical music and shows that what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what happens onstage. Mexico-born Garcia Bernal, repped by WME, will play Gustavo, an enfant terrible who’s utterly devoted to his art as a conductor — but also to his image.
Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine) is set to co-star opposite Shane Coffey in USA’s drama pilot The Novice, from Fox 21, Joe and Tony Gayton. It centers on Kyle (Coffey), a recent college graduate who is forced to move back home with his parents and soon lands a position with a Korean crime organization. Lee, a second-generation Korean American, will play Big Bang, a thug with a lot of anger issues who is a major player in the Korean syndicate. The actor, repped by APA and Zero Gravity, next stars in director Duane Adler’s Korean film Cobu.