Amazon Studios has inked a large development deal for Carnival Row, a TV series version of Travis Beacham’s cult supernatural feature spec script A Killing on Carnival Row, which has Guillermo del Toro co-writing, executive producing and directing. Legendary TV is producing.
I’ve learned that Amazon has ordered three scripts from the project, to be co-written by del Toro, Beacham and Rene Echeverria, the veteran TV writer-producer, Star Trek alum and 4400 co-creator.
Carnival Row is likely to go from scripts straight to series as it is very expensive, making filming a pilot unfeasible. AMC took a similar approach with zombie drama The Walking Dead. This would make a first for Amazon Studios, which has adopted the pilot model, with all scripts approved for production going through a pilot stage and the pilots made available online for customer feedback.
If Carnival Row goes to production, del Toro is set to direct the first episode. Del Toro, Beacham and Echevarria executive produce, with Echevarria serving as showrunner.
A Killing on Carnival Row is set in the future in a city called the Burgue, which looks a lot like 18th Century London. It is inhabited by humans and other creatures, and a serial killer is on the loose.
The project’s transition to TV via Legendary and Amazon Studios, first reported by THR, comes on the script’s 10-year anniversary. Beacham sold it to New Line and Koppelson Entertainment as a spec in 2005. Guillermo Del Toro and Neil Jordan flirted with the project while it was at New Line and then, following New Line’s absorption by Warner Bros., Arnold and Anne Kopelson tried shopping it to studios with Immortals helmer Tarsem Singh attached.
Del Toro’s collaboration with Legendary on a potential Carnival Row series stems from their close relationship, including backing by Thomas Tull’s company of Del Toro’s recent features, the Pacific Rim franchise, written by Beacham, and the upcoming Crimson Peak.
In TV, del Toro has the FX thriller/horror drama series The Strain, renewed for a second season, which is based on his vampire novel trilogy with Chuck Hogan that is also called The Strain. Beacham recently created the ancient Egypt Fox series Hieroglyph based on another script he had written years prior. Because of its scope, that project too was picked up straight to series but Fox pulled the plug after the first episode was shot.
Amazon Studios, which has had success with original comedy series like Alpha House and Transparent, is yet to launch a drama series. It recently scrapped what was supposed to be one of its first two dramas, Chris Carter’s The After – also a large-scope, genre project – freeing up budget for Carnival Row. The streaming service has two other drama pilots ordered to series, Bosch and Hand of God.
Del Toro, Beacham and Echevarria are repped by WME.