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WIRE Buzz: Beric Dondarrion begins his Watch; Eli Roth shortening 13 Ghosts; more

By James Comtois
Richard Dormer

The Watch lands a familiar lead, a horror film from 1960 gets remade into a short, and an Oscar-winning filmmaker earns an award for his socially conscious horror fillmmaking... all in this edition of WIRE Buzz.

First up, Richard Dormer, aka Beric Dondarrion, has been tapped to star in The Watch, BBC America's upcoming series based on the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. The Game of Thrones star has been cast as Sam Vimes, Captain of The Watch. Pratchett depicts Vimes in the novels as a cross between an old school British policeman and a grizzled film noir detective. Dormer leads a cast that includes Adam Hugill, Jo Eaton-Kent, Marama Corlette, Lara Rossi, and Sam Adewunmi.

Inspired by the City Watch subset of Discworld novels, the “punk rock thriller” (as BBC America is describing the show) centers on a group of misfit cops fighting to save a corrupt city where crime has been legalized. BBC Studios is co-producing the eight-part series with Narrativia, the production company Pratchett founded in 2012 that is now run by Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna and his former business manager Rob Wilkins. Simon Allen is writing the show, which is expected to drop some time next year. 

And while BBC America is going big, Screen Gems is going small. Or rather, short. The Sony Pictures division is teaming up with Jack Davis and Eli Roth’s Crypt TV to produce a 10-minute short based on the 1960 horror film, 13 Ghosts, Deadline has revealed. The original film directed by William Castle, is about a family who inherits a house that’s haunted by… well… 13 ghosts (it’s in the title, after all).

In connection with Screen Gem's recently announced Horror Lab initiatve, the plan is to release the short on Crypt TV’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, then determine whether to make a feature based on audience reaction. Crypt TV recently signed a deal with Facebook to create exclusive programming for the social media giant’s Watch video platform. 

Production begins this winter. The companies are gunning for an early 2020 release. 

Jordan Peele

And finally, the Los Angeles chapter of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced that Jordan Peele will receive The John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing at BAFTA LA's Britannia Awards next month. The organization is honoring the Oscar-winning writer and director of Us and Get Out for creating “a new genre of socially conscious horror."

“Jordan Peele has earned record-breaking success and critical acclaim through work that pushes boundaries and shines a light on stories of important social relevance,” said BAFTA Los Angeles CEO Chantal Rickards in a statement. “His imaginative storylines, inclusive casting, and bold style evokes John Schlesinger’s spirit of independence, integrity and commitment to excellence. We are honored to celebrate Jordan’s talents at this year’s ceremony.”

Past recipients of the award include Steve McQueen, Ava DuVernay, Ang Lee, Sam Mendes, Mike Newell, Danny Boyle, Christopher Nolan, David Yates, Quentin Tarantino, and Kathryn Bigelow.

This year’s awards ceremony will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Friday, Oct. 25. 

Peele is also executive producer and host of the latest iteration of The Twilight Zone on CBS All Access and is executive producing Lovecraft Country for HBO through his production company Monkeypaw Productions, along with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Warner Bros.