The Man In The High Castle took a long, circuitous route before arriving at Amazon, executive producers David Zucker and Isa Dick Hackett recalled today at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event. Adapted from the 1962 novel by Isa’s father Philip K. Dick, the alternative history of a dystopian U.S. where the Axis powers won World War II began its TV journey nine years ago. Originally sold to BBC America, the project was deemed just not British enough.
Eventually developed by Scott Free Productions, High Castle eventually acquired The X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz, who boarded when the series was sold to Syfy. At one point, when all options seemed exhaused in the TV realm, Zucker considered turning The Man In The High Castle into a feature film.
Enter Morgan Wandell, head of the Amazon Studios drama department, who read the project and embraced it.
Hackett said Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle is “less sci-fi” than her father’s book, and is more a “swing at the mainstream.”
“It says a lot about Fascism, our world as is today, threats of Fascism,” she said.
Mozart In The Jungle EP Jason Schwartzman and his cousin Roman Coppola came by their interest in the project honestly: Grandfather Carmine Coppola was a noted flutist and composer, thus sparking their interest in Blair Tindall’s memoir Mozart In The Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music.
Said Schwartzman, “The novel was racy, behind the scenes and revolutionary.” He said the memoir brought to mind the Oscar-winning film Amadeus, in that “these people smiled. They weren’t just paintings. But real people. My mother would take us to see the L.A. Philharmonic and I remember putting on pants, a little jacket and carrying cough drops and looking at these people around me and asking ‘Who are they?’ “
The half-hour series, which won two Golden Globes (Best TV Comedy and Best Comedy Actor for Gael Garcia Bernal), is set in New York’s classical music world, following Rodrigo (Bernal), a new maestro wowing the city, and young oboist Hailey (Lola Kirke) who has big dreams.
For EP Paul Weitz, Mozart In The Jungle was a chance to do something on the screen that’s rarely seen: “There’s an element of Preston Sturges and Ernst Lubitsch, where there’s someone who is broke and can’t pay the rent, but there’s this huge scene with people in tuxedos.”