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WIRE Buzz: Netflix sets new zombie series; Stephen King celebrates The Stand; more

By Don Kaye
Brazilian Zombie Walk

Netflix is taking the zombie genre international and Stephen King celebrates the 25th anniversary of the miniseries The Stand in the latest WIRE Buzz.

First we start with Reality Z, a new series being produced by Netflix in Brazil, in collaboration with one of the country's biggest independent production banners, Conspiração.

According to Deadline, the five-episode project is being adapted by Brazilian director, screenwriter, and executive producer Cláudio Torres from Dead Set, a 2008 British show that was created by Charlie Brooker before he went on to give us the majesty that is Black Mirror.

In Brooker's series, the story took place in a fictional house for the real Big Brother reality show, where members of the cast and crew were trapped as a zombie apocalypse began breaking out (the show was produced by the same company behind Big Brother, which is how Brooker got to use the real series as a setting).

The Brazilian adaptation will transplant the story to a reality show called Olimpo, The House of the Gods, on its elimination night, with the location once again becoming a shelter as the undead outbreak turns Rio de Janeiro into a vortex of chaos. Production has already started on the limited series.

Brooker remarked, "It’s incredible to see the ways in which Torres has reimagined this series, setting it in a city as iconic as Rio and tapping into Brazilian pop culture in such a sharp way."

Netflix has some 30 shows and movies in the works in Brazil, as part of the company's expanding international push (including genre fare from all over the world), but the good news is that all of them, including Reality Z, will debut globally sometime in 2020.

Stephen King

Stephen King will make what's being billed as a "rare" podcast appearance next month, says EW, when he joins Mick Garris on the latter's "Post Mortem" podcast to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the miniseries The Stand, the four-part, eight-hour adaptation of King's classic novel that aired on ABC-TV in 1994.

Garris directed the adaptation from a teleplay by King himself, with a mammoth cast that included Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, Miguel Ferrer, Ed Harris, Adam Storke, Matt Frewer, Laura San Giacomo, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Ray Walston, Jamey Sheridan, and many more.

King's story of an epic battle between good and evil that follows the outbreak of a humanity-decimating virus was brought to the small screen relatively faithfully, especially for the budget and the content restrictions of TV at the time, and fans still remember it fondly as an ambitious if flawed adaptation.

In a preview from the podcast, King says he almost abandoned writing the book, recalling, "I said, ‘This is getting too big, this is unwieldy.' I almost ended the book right there, I almost left it in a drawer, because I said, ‘I don’t know what to do with all these people, I’ve spread the thing too wide.'"

The Stand went on to become one of King's most popular and beloved novels, and sure enough, a new version is in the works from CBS All Access after many years of development as a feature film.

You can catch the "Post Mortem" on The Stand starting May 8, the date of the original miniseries' premiere.

Thomas Jane

Screen Daily reports that Thomas Jane is starring in a new "dark thriller" called The Orchard, which is filming now under the direction of first-time feature helmer Michael Caissie.

Jane will play a sheriff who is investigating an attack on three teenage sisters by a gang of young delinquents, only to find out that a malevolent force lurks in the orchard where the attack took place and threatens all their lives.

Prior to this, Jane has been a horror genre regular, appearing in the Stephen King adaptations Dreamcatcher, The Mist, and 1922 as well as Mike Flanagan's Before I Wake. He also played the title role in the ill-fated 2004 movie version of The Punisher, and more recently appeared on The Expanse and in last year's The Predator.

Joining Jane in the picture are Jay Mohr, India Ennenga, Katrina Bowden, Amanda Wyss, and Sean Patrick Flanery. The Orchard will be offered to buyers at the Cannes film festival in France next month.