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Development: The Passage greenlit; Six Billion Dollar Man loses director; The Purge fills up

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May 8, 2018

Development news often comes in threes, though it’s not always as neatly delivered with two pieces of good news and one piece of bad news. Which would you like to hear first? The bad news? Okay, let’s get it out of the way:

After only recently finding a production home, The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Six Billion Dollar Man has lost director and co-writer Damian Szifron to creative differences. The Mark Wahlberg vehicle serving as a reboot of the TV show for Warner Bros. is now leaderless as it was supposed to head into production in only a few months. WB aims to keep things on track, which means it’s looking for someone to take over post-haste. As Mel Gibson has already been courted to co-star in the movie, the recently-rewelcomed actor/director could potentially seize the opportunity and hop into the director’s chair.


In happier news, virus experimentation vampire drama The Passage has gotten the greenlight for a full series, as per Variety. Fox will air the show, which is based on Justin Cronin’s book trilogy about a secret government medical facility experimenting with a virus that’s on the cusp of curing every disease known to man -- or totally killing everyone. One of the two. A young test subject named Amy (Saniyya Sidney) is protected by federal agent Brad (Mark‐Paul Gosselaar), who is compelled to become a surrogate father figure to the girl. Think Eleven and Hopper from Stranger Things. She'll need protection too, because in Cronin's trilogy, the virus causes an outbreak of vampire-like creatures! 

While the show’s pilot needed to have segments reshot with a different director at the behest of Fox, the original was well-received enough that the series was expected to land a full season after the network's first viewing. And now it has!


Adding to the good news is some close-to-home casting. According to Deadline, actress Fiona Dourif (best known for her antagonistic role in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency) is set for a recurring role in the TV series adaptation of The Purge for USA Network and SYFY.

Dourif’s character is named Good Leader Tavis, a “much-adored, charismatic cult leader, dispensing blessings to her fawning followers.” That sounds a lot like her mixture of villainy and sweetness in Dirk Gently, which should be a great fit for the often tongue-in-cheek tone surrounding the 12 hours a year when crime is legal.