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Amazon strikes deals with Pitt, McQueen

Amazon Studios has struck overall deals with actor Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment and director and screenwriter Steve McQueen, alongside revealing a host of new programming.

Steve McQueen
(photo: Melony McGant)

McQueen, whose credits include Hunger, Shame and 12 Years a Slave, will create and produce content for Amazon Studios to premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories.

As part of the deal, sci-fi thriller TV project Last Days, a Lammas Park and See-Saw Films production, has been put into development.

McQueen’s upcoming drama Small Axe, a Turbine Studios and Lammas Park production for BBC1 with Amazon coproducing in the US, starring John Boyega and Letitia Wright, will premiere on Amazon in the US later this year.

Amazon Studios has also signed a new overall deal for television with the Oscar- and Emmy-winning team at Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.

Under the exclusive new agreement, Plan B’s first devoted to TV production, the company will develop and produce series for Amazon globally.

Plan B is currently in production with Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins on upcoming Amazon original series The Underground Railroad and will also produce new Amazon original series Outer Range, created by Brian Watkins.

The producer, of which Pitt is founder and CEO, is also working with Amazon Studios and Legendary Television to develop Paper Girls, a dramatic series based on Brian K Vaughan’s bestselling graphic novel.

Brad Pitt
(photo: Glenn Francis)

“Amazon has become a home for such ambitious talent in our industry, pushing cutting-edge storytelling and intellectual property to increasingly exciting, global places,” said Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, co-presidents of Plan B Entertainment, in a joint statement.

Adding to its list of agreements with actors and producers, Amazon Studios has also signed a first-look deal with Gael García Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle) and Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), who recently launched Mexican production house La Corriente del Golfo.

The duo serve as executive producers on the as-yet-untitled four-hour epic Amazon original drama about Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés and Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II.

Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) is set to star in and exec produce the series, which comes from Amazon Studios and Amblin Television.

As with the Plan B and McQueen agreements, the deal will see Bernal and Luna create and produce content for Amazon Prime around the world.

Elsewhere, Amazon Studios has greenlit drama series Jack Reacher, based on the international bestselling novels from Lee Child. The first season will be based on the first Jack Reacher novel, The Killing Floor.

Nick Santora will showrun and exec produce the show, which will be produced by Amazon Studios, Skydance Television and Paramount Television Studios.

Amazon Studios has also revealed that Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Quantico) and Richard Madden (Bodyguard) will star in previously announced drama series Citadel, which comes from the Russo Brothers’ AGBO.

Multiple versions of the show are being made, with a Mexican version now added to a list that already includes Italian and Indian editions. Madden and Chopra will star in the US “mothership” version of the series, Amazon said.

The Italian series will be coproduced with Amazon Studios and Cattleya (Gomorrah), part of ITV Studios, and the Indian series will be developed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K. (The Family Man) and produced with Amazon Studios.

Amazon Studios is also working with Meagan Good, Grace Byers, Jerrie Johnson and Shoniqua Shandai on an as-yet-untitled project from US writer, actor and producer Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip).

The half-hour, single-camera comedy follows the lives of four black women – friends from their college days at NYU – as they navigate sex, relationships and chasing their dreams. From Oliver, Universal Television and Amy Poehler’s Paper Kite Productions, it will premiere exclusively on Amazon around the world.

Finally, Amazon Studios has revealed more details about its upcoming series based on The Lord of the Rings, the first season of which will span eight episodes.

Its multi-generational cast will include Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers and Daniel Weyman. Production will begin in February.

As previously announced, the series is led by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.

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