Amazon is dramatically ramping up its production for next year, moving forward with three new high-concept series, Variety has learned. These new efforts represent a significant production investment from the studio, which is currently in preproduction, production or post on 67 TV series and 20 movies around the world.
The streaming service is developing the following:
â€¢ â€œLazarus,â€ based on a comic book by Greg Rucka (â€œMarvelâ€™s Jessica Jonesâ€), is set in an alternative near future, where the world has been divided among 16 rival families, who run their territories in a feudal system. Each family has allies and enemies among the other families. To crush uprisings and fight wars, most families have a Lazarus: a one-person kill squad.
Rucka serves as writer and executive producer on â€œLazarus,â€ along with Michael LarkÂ (â€œCaptain America: The Winter Soldierâ€) andÂ Angela Cheng Caplan.
â€¢ â€œSnow Crash,â€ which is based on Neal Stephensonâ€™s cult novel, is a one-hour science fiction drama set in futuristic America. In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzoâ€™s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse heâ€™s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus thatâ€™s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain.
A co-production with Paramount Television, â€œSnow Crashâ€ is executive produced by Joe Cornish (â€œAnt-Manâ€) and Frank Marshall (â€œBack to the Futureâ€).
â€¢ â€œRingworld,â€ a co-production with MGM, is based on Larry Nivenâ€™s sci-fiÂ book series from the 70â€™s. It tells the story of Louis Gridley Wu, a bored man celebrating his 200th birthday in a technologically-advanced, future Earth. Upon being offered one of the open positions on a voyage, Louis joins a young woman and two aliens to explore Ringworld, the remote artificial ring beyond â€œKnown Space.â€
In an internal email to Amazon employees, studio head Roy Price said that heâ€™s feeling â€œbullishâ€ about whatâ€™s in store for 2018 and 2019. â€œThe biggestÂ takeawayÂ is that once again, our overall content investment is increasing,Â which will allow us to continue to meet customer demand around the world for high quality and engaging programming,â€ he wrote.
On Amazonâ€™s slate for the rest of 2017 are: â€œLore,â€ a horror series based on the hit podcast, produced by Gale Anne Hurd, which debuts Oct. 13; â€œMarvelous Mrs. Maisel,â€ from Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino which bows in December, alongside â€œThe Grand Tour.â€
Next year brings Carlton Cuseâ€™s â€œJack Ryan,â€ which stars John Krasinski; Matt Weinerâ€™s â€œThe Romanoffs,â€ withÂ IsabelleÂ Hupert, Christina Hendricks, and AaronÂ Eckhardt; and Julia Robertâ€™s first TV series, â€œHomecoming,â€ from Sam Esmail (â€œMr. Robotâ€).
Also in production is â€œCarnival Row,â€ a fantasy noir series which starsÂ Orlando Bloom and CaraÂ Delevigne and produced by ReneÂ Echevarria, which starts shooting in Prague this week.
Amazonâ€™s untitled David O. Russell project (Priceâ€™s memo called the scripts â€œgreatâ€) â€” with Julianne Moore and Robert De Niro â€” starts shooting next year. He also praised PaulÂ Attanasioâ€™s â€œTong Warsâ€ scripts for WongÂ Kar-WaiÂ as â€œtruly fantastic.â€ â€œI know that WKW is going to bring a fascinating world to life with a unique aesthetic and in an exciting and emotional way,â€ Price wrote.
In development are pilots with Greg Daniels; Barry Jenkinsâ€™ â€œUnderground Railroadâ€; â€œThe Boysâ€ with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg written by EricÂ KripkeÂ from the awesome Garth Ennis comic; â€œBlack Americaâ€Â with AaronÂ MagruderÂ and Will Packer; â€œThe Nixâ€Â with J.J. Abrams andÂ MerylÂ Streep (novel by Nathan Hill); â€œBlack Powerâ€Â with John Singleton; â€œThe Cosmopolitansâ€ with WhitÂ Stillman; â€œStarskyÂ & Hutchâ€ with James Gunn.
Priceâ€™s memo highlighted recent overall deals with Robert Kirkman, Sharon Horgan, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino. â€œTalent is the most important thing,â€ wrote Price.
He also addressed the behind-the-scenes drama on â€œGoliath,â€ saying â€œâ€˜Goliathâ€™ has faced rumors of tumult,Â butÂ Billy Bob ThorntonÂ won the Globe for Best Actor,Â and the shooting scripts and dailies for season two are looking great,â€ he wrote.
The new programming push comes three weeks after Variety reported exclusively on a mandate from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for Priceâ€™s Amazon Studios to make a dramatic shift in priorities for series development, with an increased focus on event and genre projects with the potential to draw large audiences worldwide, and less emphasis on naturalistic dramas and comedies. As part of that shift, Amazon canceled two freshman dramas, â€œZ: The Beginning of Everythingâ€ and â€œThe Last Tycoon.â€