As we scooped in November, WGN America this morning officially announced that it has teamed with the Weinstein Company for a Ten Commandments 10-part event series from Oscar-winning producers Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook, American Beauty) and Bob Weinstein. The plan was for each episode to be helmed by a different A-list director, focusing on one commandment and its modern interpretation. Now WGN and the Weinstein Co. have set five of those filmmakers, and they are Gus Van Sant, Lee Daniels, Jim Sheridan, Wes Craven and Michael Cera. “We are thrilled and honored to have filmmakers of this caliber as a part of this ambitious project, and thank Bruce Cohen and The Weinstein Co. for bringing this diverse group of directors together,” said WGN America president Matt Cherniss. Added TWC co-chairman Bob Weinstein, “Each of these directors is acclaimed for their own unique brand of style and genre, so it’s clear that we can expect ten wildly different episodes from this series.” This marks the third series order for WGN America, following the straight-to-series pickups for drama Salem and Manhattan. In preparation for its reinvention as an original programming player, WGN America is undergoing a rebranding, introducing a new, more contemporary logo. (left)
Gus Van Sant, Lee Daniels, Jim Sheridan, Wes Craven & Michael Cera To Direct WGN America’s ‘Ten Commandments’ Series
EXCLUSIVE: The new WGN America is barely 8 months old, but it already has ordered two original scripted series — Salem and Manhattan — and has made a major off-network acquisition with Person Of Interest. Now the scripted newcomer is adding an ambitious event series to its programming roster. I’ve learned that WGN has teamed with the Weinstein Company for a Ten Commandments 10-part event series, which is being executive produced by Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook, American Beauty). I hear the plan is for each episode to be helmed by a different A-list director, focusing on one commandment and its evolving significance. I hear the project is eying a March start. This would be one of Hollywood’s highest-profile takes on one of the most studied and sacred texts in Christianity and Judaism since the 1956 movie directed by Cecil B. DeMille starring Charlton Heston as Moses. With its structure, the event series is reminiscent of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s acclaimed 1989 Polish 10-part series Decalogue, where each part also focused on one commandment. The Ten Commandments, or the Decalogue, feature a set of biblical principles delivered by God to Moses that include prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, theft, dishonesty, and adultery. On the comedy side, the commandments were famously tackled by Mel Brooks in History of The World, as well as by the 2007 movie The Ten.