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WIRE Buzz: Elias Koteas joins SYFY's Cipher; Brian Helgeland directing Netflix's Button Man; more

By James Comtois
Elias Koteas

Today's tidbits include casting news for an upcoming SYFY series, the end of a lawsuit that threatened Fear the Walking Dead, and a Netflix genre flick has landed a director.

First up, Elias Koteas (The Killing) has been cast as series regular for the upcoming Cipher pilot for SYFY. 

Cipher follows a 13-year-old gamer who has top secret military technology implanted into his brain, putting him at the center of a war for AI. Koteas will play Hal Berek, a Texas rancher with a strong opinion about how the heroes should face the challenges ahead of them. Koteas joins a cast that includes Gabriel Bateman and Kyla-Drew Simmons. 

Allison Miller (Strange Angel) is writing and executive producing alongside Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, and Brandon James. Peter Hoar, director of The Umbrella Academy’s first episode, will helm the pilot. 

Up next, Variety is reporting that L.A. Confidential writer and 42 director Brian Helgeland has been selected direct Button Man for Netflix. 

The film, based on the graphic novel by John Wagner and Arthur Ranson, tells the story of ex-military contractor Harry Exton who gets paid to fight to the death in modern-day gladiatorial contests for the amusement of the ultra-rich.

A start date on production has not been set. Helgeland is currently casting the film’s lead.

And finally, the copyright suit filed against the makers of Fear the Walking Dead has finally been put to rest. Per a report from Deadline, both sides have finally struck a deal. Terms of the settlement are confidential. 

The suit filed by plaintiff Melvin William Smith accused AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead of ripping off his comic book Dead Ahead. AMC tried to dismiss the suit on the grounds that there weren't enough substantial similarities between Smith’s comic and Fear the Walking Dead once they discounted generic elements from the zombie genre. However, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh denied AMC’s motion to dismiss, arguing that AMC Defendants’ argument was “unpersuasive."

But if you think the folks at AMC can now breathe a shigh of relief, guess again. They still have The Walking Dead’s former showrunner Frank Darabont and CAA’s profit participation lawsuit against AMC heading to trial in 2020. Plus, executive producers Robert Kirkman and Gale Anne Hurd and among several EPs are also suing AMC for millions of dollars they say they are owed. They're coming to get you, AMC!