Welcome back to SYFY WIRE's development roundup! For our latest slew of entertainment updates, we've got alternate realities, a group of miniaturized graduate students in Hawaii, and a deal with Robert Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment.
Intrigued yet? Good, let's kick things off, shall we?
The first bit of development news involves a world where the state of Israel split along its religious and secular factions into two separate countries — an Orthodox nation run from Jerusalem and a secular nation based in Tel Aviv.
That's the premise of Autonomies, the new show from Keshet International (it debuted last month to critical acclaim), the premier global distributor of Israeli television offerings. According to Variety, the company is attempting to bring the foreign-language dystopian drama to international markets, shopping the series around to potential buyers at this year's MIPCOM trade show in France.
Conflict ensues (with a civil war bubbling beneath the surface) between the two Jewish nations when a custody battle rages over a young girl, who was allegedly born in the Orthodox zone, but raised in the secular one.
“The show really moves between the micro and the macro, and that’s what I like about it,” said Keren Shahar, KI’s chief operating officer and president of distribution, per Variety. “It can resonate with audiences around the world, both as it is and as an adaptation, and you can really apply it to the most burning [societal] issues in almost any territory.”
Keshet also announced that it's developing an English version of Autonomies that will explore the deep political divide in America.
Featuring a second civil war between Republican and Democratic states would certainly be timely, not to mention utterly reminiscent of Confederate, the series that was being developed by Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff for HBO. Set in an alternate reality where the Southern states won the Civil War, the project entered development hell after a public controversy over its racially weighted content.
For the next bit of news, we've gotta shrink down like Ant-Man and the Wasp.
That's because the film adaptation of Michael Crichton's Micro at Amblin Entertainment has found writers in Neil Widener and Gavin James (both of whom are credited as scribes on San Andreas 2 and Now You See Me 3 on IMDb), reports Deadline.
Crichton's final novel before his death in 2008, Micro was actually finished by Richard Preston, who used the late author's notes to piece together a finished product. The plot revolves around a group of graduate students who find themselves shrunken down in a Hawaiian jungle and must rely on their scientific wits if they are to survive.
Frank Marshall (husband of Kathleen Kennedy and longtime producing partner of Steven Spielberg) is producing the film with Laurent Bouzereau (The Warriors) and Crichton's widow, Sherri Alexander. No director is attached, but this has reportedly been a "passion project" of Spielberg's since the book was published in 2011.
Under the specifics of the deal, Galactic (overseen by Locke & Key EP Rick Jacobs) will develop scripted shows that will then be financed by Sony. The studio is also allowed to sell international distribution rights to whatever projects are greenlit and produced.
There are two series already underway, one of them based on a Kirkman comic, Thief of Thieves. Originally in development at AMC (home of Kirkman's The Walking Dead), the show is set to follow a master thief named Conrad Paulson who finds it difficult to juggle a home and criminal life.
Evan Endicott and Josh Stoddard (Warrior) are writing the adaptation, while Assaf Bernstein (Fauda) directs.
The second show in development is Nailbiter, based on the Image comic by Josh Williamson and Mike Henderson. Described as a mix of Twin Peaks and Se7en by Image Comics, the story focuses on the town of Buckaroo, Oregon, the birthplace of 17 of the world's most depraved serial killers.
Scott Kosar (Bates Motel) is handling writing duties, with Osgood "Oz" Perkins (The Blackcoat's Daughter) directing.