Series produced by Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman and Emmy-winning writers Greg Daniels and Lena Waithe have been ordered by Amazon Studios, it was announced Saturday.
Kidman will be an executive producer of the drama series “The Expatriates,” based on the novel by Janice Y.K. Lee about the lives of a close-knit expatriate community in Hong Kong.
“The Expatriates” is the first project stemming from Amazon Studios’ first-look deal Kidman’s Blossom Films.
“The story weaves an addictive tapestry that follows a group of complex women and their lives as outsiders in Hong Kong,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, which creates original television series that premiere exclusively on the global streaming service Amazon Prime Video.
“It’s a compelling exploration of the strength of these women as they persevere through struggles with marriage, career, parenting and unimaginable loss.”
Kidman called “The Expatriates” “just the beginning of our shared goal in making delicious stories with something meaningful to say about the world.”
Daniels is the creator of “Upload,” a science fiction situation comedy that takes place in the near future, where people who are near death can be “uploaded” into a virtual afterlife of their choice, according to Amazon Studios.
In 2033, secretly romantic Brooklyn-born Nora works customer service for a luxurious virtual reality environment. When handsome Los Angeles party boy Nathan’s self-driving car crashes, his high-maintenance girlfriend uploads him permanently into Nora’s virtual reality world.
“Amazon is the perfect place to make `Upload’ because of their strong creative team, and because it’s a company that could actually one day host a digital afterlife,” said Daniels, the five-time Emmy-winning creator of “Parks and Recreation” and “King of the Hill” and a producer of “The Office.”
Waithe will be an executive producer of the horror event series “THEM,” which received a two-season order. The first season will be “THEM: Covenant,” set in 1953, about a couple who moves from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood.
The family’s home on a tree lined, seemingly idyllic street becomes ground zero where malevolent forces both real and supernatural threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them, according to Amazon Studios.
“My heart was still pounding an hour after I heard this pitch,” Salke said. “The show is edge of your seat scary and addictive while also being provocative and socially relevant.”
The series will be written by Little Marvin.
“Little Marvin’s script stayed with me for weeks after I read it,” said Waithe, who in September became the first black woman to win a Primetime Emmy for outstanding writing for a comedy series. Waithe was honored for a script she co-wrote with Aziz Ansari for the Netflix comedy “Master of None.”
“He’s written something that’s provocative and terrifying. The first season will speak to how frightening it was to be black in 1953. It will also remind us that being black in 2018 is just as horrifying. This anthology series will examine the cultural divides among all of us and explore us vs. them in a way we’ve never seen before.”
In other announcements from Amazon Studios and Amazon Prime Video made at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour being held in Beverly Hills:
— The Matthew Weiner-created contemporary anthology series “The Romanoffs,” will premiere Oct. 12. The eight-episode series features eight separate stories about people who believe they are descendants of the Russian royal family.
Additional casting announced Saturday for “The Romanoffs” included Noah Wyle, Mary Kay Place and Griffin Dunne.
Previously announced cast included Oscar nominees Diane Lane and Isabelle Huppert and Emmy nominees John Slattery and Christina Hendricks
“The Romanoffs” was shot on location in three continents and seven nations in Europe, the Americas and Far East.
Weiner created the 2007-15 AMC period advertising drama “Mad Men.”
— The filmmaking brothers Anthony and Joe Russo will make a “large-scope, multi-layered international event series” where they will have “the creative freedom to oversee an ambitious concept meant to captivate the Prime Video audience and redefine the boundaries of storytelling,” according to Amazon Studios.
Without providing more details, “the origin mothership series will function as a fire-starter to ignite the creation of multiple original local language and local production series. All of the local series are meant to enhance the entire entertainment experience and will be available for the viewer to deep dive into an imagined layered world,” according to Amazon Studios.
— J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, the screenwriters for a future “Star Trek” movie sequel, will develop “The Lord of The Rings” original series.
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