EXCLUSIVE: FX has put in development They Marched Into Sunlight, a six-part limited series executive produced by Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan. The project, produced by Fox 21 and FX Prods, is based on the bestseller by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist David Maraniss. Oscar-winning documentarian and playwright Eric Simonson (A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin) is writing the series. Maraniss and Simonson are executive producing alongside Gaghan and Suzanne Joskow, who are executive producing through Gaghan’s company, Unsupervised, under his pod deal with Fox 21. They Marched Into Sunlight explores the Vietnam War both on the battlefield and at home. It centers on two simultaneous events in October 1967 — the violent ambush of the Black Lion army battalion in the jungles of Vietnam, and a student protest against Dow Chemical, the makers of napalm, on the Madison campus of the University of Wisconsin — both of which marked a dramatic turning point for the war and the beginning of an American conversation that is ongoing today. In addition to the FX series, Maraniss’ book also was the basis for PBS’ American Experience 2005 documentary Two Days In October.
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline revealed this morning that Ridley Scott was returning to his sci-fi classic Blade Runner. His Scott Free partner and brother Tony Scott is also getting serious about a new version of a movie classic. Scott …
EXCLUSIVE: How do you say “hot property” in Swedish? After a bidding war, 20th Century Fox TV has nabbed the rights to a series of books by renowned Swedish criminologist and novelist Leif G.W. Persson for Stephen Gaghan to develop as a TV series targeted for next season. Gaghan is in the first year of a two-year overall deal at 20th TV, following his collaboration with the studio on his NBC pilot Metro this past season.
The TV project will be based on the central character in Persson’s books — Evert Backstrom. An equal-opportunity misanthrope, Backstrom is always miserable, and only a good murder case can cheer him up. The character has appeared in two novels so far, Linda and He Who Kills The Dragon, with at least one more on the way. Backstrom is very popular in Scandinavia, where Persson’s books have sold more than 6 million copies. The novels were brought to the U.S. by Scandinavia’s top literary agency for crime writers, Salomonsson Agency, which is allied with Los Angeles’ RWSG Literary Agency. RWSG recently shopped the Backstrom books to TV studios, receiving multiple bids. Niclas Salomonsson and Leif G.W. Persson will serve as executive producers on the TV project alongside Gaghan. Persson, a leading psychological profiler, has also served as an adviser to the Swedish Ministry of Justice. Since 1991, he holds the position of Professor at the National Swedish Police Board and is regularly consulted as the country’s foremost expert on crime.
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning writer-director Stephen Gaghan just turned in his first TV pilot, an untitled Los Angeles drama at NBC (formerly knows as SILA). Now Gaghan has signed his first TV overall deal with the studio producing the pilot, 20th Century Fox TV. Under the two-year pact, Gaghan will continue to oversee the NBC show if it goes to series and will develop other projects through his newly named Unsupervised TV production company, which will be run by Suzanne Joskow. He already has two projects in very early stages for Fox, a Washington, DC drama and an animated comedy.
Gaghan said he knew he wanted to be a writer when he was 7, much to the chagrin of his mother, who gave him the example of his writing/drinking grandfather, a newspaper journalist and music critic. “You’ll live in misery and you’ll go, and by that I mean you’ll die,” she told him. Gaghan was on track to fulfill his mom’s prophesy when he was kicked out of high school his senior year for driving a go-kart through the school’s administrative offices.
Oscar-winning feature writer Stephen Gaghan is making a return to television with a pilot at NBC. In his latest pilot order to a big-name writer, new NBC programming chief Bob Greenblatt has given the green light to Gaghan’s drama S.I.L.A., which will be produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Chernin Entertainment. Gaghan, who won an Oscar for writing Traffic and earned another Oscar nom for writing Syriana, originally penned S.I.L.A. 18 months ago, with the script recently finding its way to Greenblatt. The project is described as a complex drama in the style of Traffic and Syriana set in the world of crime, law enforcement and politics in sprawling modern-day Los Angeles. In addition to writing, Gaghan, who has helmed two movies, including Syriana, will also direct the pilot. He is executive producing with Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope.
S.I.L.A.was laid off at Chernin Entertainment and 20th TV because of Gaghan’s existing relationships there. Through a deal at 20th TV, Gaghan has a drama and animated projects set up at Fox, also through Chernin Entertainment, which he is supervising along with his development executive Suzanne Joskow. On the feature side, Gaghan has Dead Spy Running, a feature at Warner Bros. that he is writing with an eye to direct. Kevin McCormick and McG’s Wonderland are producing.