EXCLUSIVE: Cary Fukunaga is reteaming with True Detective producer Anonymous Content to direct and executive produce The Alienist, an event TV series inspired by Caleb Carr’s bestselling novel. The Alienist represents the first fruit to bear out of the three year, first-look production deal announced last year between Anonymous and Paramount TV. That splashy deal gives Paramount a first look to produce and distribute Anonymous’ TV programming across multiple platforms.
Paramount and Anonymous also said today that Oscar winner Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) had come aboard as executive producer. Hossein Amini (The Two Faces Of January), who wrote the pilot, will write and exec produce the series.
Set in the tenements and mansions of Gilded Age New York City, Carr’s 1994 novel tells the story of Dr. Laszlo Kreizler who, with the help of newspaper reporter John Moore and police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, uses the emerging discipline of psychology to track down one of New York City’s first serial killers.
“The Alienist is a fascinating and distinctive, fast-paced psychological thriller that is wonderfully evocative of the unrivaled Gilded Age of New York City,” said Paramount TV president Amy Powell. “Cary Fukunaga’s unique vision and ability to render compelling, distinctive and superbly atmospheric direction is the perfect voice for this television series. We are thrilled to have not only Cary’s expert direction, but also the creativity, imagination and storytelling abilities of the supremely talented Eric Roth and Hossein Amini.”
“We are thrilled that Paramount has entrusted us and our brilliant creative dream team — Eric Roth, Hossein Amini, and Cary Fukunaga — to bring this much beloved, bestselling novel to the screen,” said Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin and Rosalie Swedlin, who will also executive produce the series. “The multi-episodic format will enable us to do justice to the complexity of Caleb Carr’s storytelling and his vivid and detailed portrait of late 19th century New York in all its splendor and grittiness.”
Fukunaga and Anonymous are growing into some kind of dream team. The duo collaborated with spectacular results on True Detective, a benchmark in what is now commonly described as a Golden Age for TV. The two also worked together most recently on feature film Beasts Of No Nation, about child soldiers in Africa. Netflix acquired worldwide rights for the film in a landmark deal for $12 million.
Paramount’s relatively young TV division has been expanding ambitiously under Powell. The company is mining its parent studio’s library for TV adaptations, including plans to develop an HBO series based on Shutter Island with both Martin Scorsese and Dennis Lehane’s involvement; as well as an American Gigolo series in development with Jerry Bruckheimer. Paramount TV also inked a first-look deal with Kyle Killen, creator of Lone Star, Awake and Mind Games, and his recently launched company Chapter Eleven. That deal stems out of the Paramount-Anonymous partnership.