EXCLUSIVE: Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter has lined up his follow-up series to the hit FX drama, and it is as far from SOA‘s contemporary Central Valley biker community as they come (but probably just as violent). Sutter has teamed with Imagine’s Brian Grazer for The Bastard Executioner, a period drama project that has received a pilot greenlight from FX. Bastard Executioner tells the story of a warrior knight in King Edward III’s charge who is broken by the ravages of war and vows to lay down his sword. But when that violence finds him again he is forced to pick up the bloodiest sword of all. “I love the network. I love the world. I love the blood,” Sutter said. He will write the script and executive produce with Imagine’s Grazer and Francie Calfo for Fox 21 and FX Prods. through Sutter’s overall deal with Fox 21 parent 20th Century Fox TV, where Imagine TV also is based. Sutter is expected to start working on Bastard Executioner when he wraps the upcoming seventh and final season of SOA, with filming of the pilot slated to begin late next year.
“For 13 years at FX, starting as a writer and working his way up to an executive producer on The Shield, then as Creator/Executive Producer of Sons Of Anarchy, Kurt has interwoven literary and pulp storytelling within two of the most successful series in cable history,” said FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. “Now he has conceived a deep, provocative and historically precise narrative journey into our medieval past — and I have no doubt Bastard Executioner will be another remarkably original and gripping series. We’re also thrilled to be in business with Brian Grazer, one of the most gifted film and TV producers in the business.”
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The Bastard Executioner, which marks FX’s first pilot with Imagine TV, stems from an idea by Grazer, who had been exploring the arena for some time. “I find the executioner to be an incredibly fascinating and provocative character,” he said. “He deals with the highest order and the lowest order in the culture. It’s about as morally complex a profession as you can imagine, and it is going to make for a spellbinding series.” Grazer pitched the idea to 20th chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman. The two, along with Fox21 president Bert Salke, suggested Sutter as writer. After meeting with Grazer and taking some time to contemplate the idea, Sutter built a whole world around it, and the pitch was taken to FX, which bought it on the spot. “It was our great pleasure to introduce Kurt to Brian Grazer, who is a powerful force in our industry and a great champion of breakthrough films and television shows like Imagine’s own 24 and Arrested Development,” Walden and Newman said. “Kurt and Brian together will be unstoppable.”
The Bastard Executioner joins three other drama projects from A-list auspices that FX has ordered to pilot off a pitch/spec. The others, American Horror Story, The Strain and Tyrant, all have gone to series. Sutter, repped by WME and Michael Gendler, has several other projects in the works at FX, including a potential SOA prequel and a comedy starring his wife/SOA star Katey Sagal, but they will take a back seat to Bastard Executioner for now. Sutter’s feature film script, Southpaw, has Antoine Fuqua attached to direct. He is with WME.
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