Amazon Studios, which yesterday launched its fall 2015 pilot season with six primetime projects made available for streaming, has ordered two more hourlong pilots, I have learned. The long-gestating The Last Tycoon, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final unfinished novel, has received a cast-contingent pilot order, while The Interestings, an adaptation of the Meg Wolitzer bestseller, has gotten a director-contingent pilot pickup, I hear. Both projects hail from Sony TV’s recently relaunched TriStar Television banner, which landed its first pilot order at Amazon with the 1970s magazine drama Good Girls Revolt, part of the streaming service’s current pilot season.
The Last Tycoon, which Sony TV set up at Amazon a year ago after it originally had been developed at HBO, was written by Captain Phillips scribe Billy Ray who is set to direct the pilot.
Inspired by the life of film mogul Irving Thalberg, on whom the book’s protagonist Monroe Stahr was based, The Last Tycoon centers on Stahr, Hollywood’s first wunderkind studio executive in the 1930s as he climbs to the height of power pitting him against his mentor and current head of the studio Pat Brady, a character based on Louis B. Mayer. With Stahr as a focal point, the series delves into the true violence, sex and towering ambition of Hollywood in the ’30s. Ray executive produces alongside Party Of Five co-creator Chris Keyser, who serves as showrunner, as well as Perri Kipperman, Josh Maurer, David Stern and Alix Witlin.
The Last Tycoon has had a big-screen adaptation, the 1976 movie directed by Elia Kazan, written by Harold Pinter and starring Robert De Niro.
The Interestings, written by Nip/Tuck alums Lyn Greene and Richard Levine, is described as a grounded character-driven drama based on Wolitzer’s novel about a group of friends who meet at an arts camp when they’re 15 in 1974. The series chronicles their relationships throughout the next three decades dealing with the great expectations of youth juxtaposed with the realities life hands you as you get older. The project was put in development at TriStar TV when it was part of the Tom Rothman-led TriStar label before he became SPE Motion Picture Group chairman and the TV operation was put under the purview of Sony Pictures TV.