I’ve learned that Amazon is in negotiations with Sony Pictures TV for a half-hour comedy series based on the hit 2009 feature horror comedy Zombieland. I hear the project is eying a pilot or straight-to-series order. It would mark the first original scripted series for the streaming service and the first Amazon original offering from a major studio. The company had been ramping up original production through its own Amazon Studios, the original film and series production arm of Amazon.com, which is behind six recently greenlighted comedy pilots.
I hear original Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are onboard for the series as writers/executive producers, as is the movie’s producer Gavin Polone, who would executive produce. Sony TV, Reese, Wernick and Polone previously set up a Zombieland comedy series project at Fox last season. The deal with Amazon would fulfill the trio’s original vision for Zombieland as a TV series, which was first developed for CBS in 2005 before the rise of alternative digital distributors of original series like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. After CBS passed and Syfy couldn’t make a deal for the show, the project was turned into the Ruben Fleischer-directed feature starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin, which became a sleeper hit. I hear Fleischer, busy with pilots under his overall deal at 20th TV, is not involved in the Zombieland series, with Eli Craig (Tucker & Dale vs. Evil) in talks to direct. Craig is a self-professed big Zombieland fan, listing the film among his favorite horror comedies. “Zombieland was just one of these fun rides,” he said. The first 30 minutes were probably some of the most exciting and humorous action-comedy-horror filmaking I’ve ever seen.”
Sony TV has an existing relationship with Amazon. In May the two companies were in serious discussions about continuing Sony’s cancelled ABC drama Pam Am on the streaming platform, but ultimately couldn’t make a deal.