Shades Of Blue creator and Eyewitness guru Adi Hasak told a Mipcom audience in Cannes today that he’s working on an adaptation of Black Widows, based on the Nordic noir format and which he calls “Desperate Housewives on acid.” The rare bird in Hollywood who’s gone from being a writer with no TV credits — and still no agency representation — to back-to-back straight-to-series orders is attacking the international community first on Black Widows and is in negotiations with an actress “at the level” of Shades star Jennifer Lopez, he said today.
What’s more, he has also got a limited series project with France’s Canal Plus that’s based on a real event which took place in France in the 70s. Without divulging details, he likened it to Carlos, Olivier Assayas’ Edgar Ramirez-starrer that was a TV series locally but was also released as a film — notably playing out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010. There’s also an international project with Sony.
During his talk, Hasak referred to himself as “the Uber driver who’s taking on the cab companies” by pitching offshore partners ahead of the U.S studios and networks. The Netherlands-born son of Russian Jews from New York who served in the Israeli Army, calls the rapidly changing world of today “the Uber economy.”
His maverick model of retaining creative control and an economic stake in projects sees him now generating them in the U.S. and seeking out overseas partners (especially Scandinavia’s Viaplay, he said) but leaving enough skin in the game so that a U.S. broadcaster “feels vested.”
Cutting out the studio, he said “makes monetary sense for us, but we also obtain creative control. It’s one layer gotten rid of.” He added, “If I was younger I’d get rid of the networks as well.”
Describing his thinking, he said, “If you’ve been at it long enough, everyone knows everyone in the business. If your IP is worthwhile, people who want your material pick up the phone and take a meeting.”
Speaking of Eyewitness, the USA series that’s adapted from the Norwegian drama Øyevitne, Hasak said he had to simplify the story to get it to play Stateside. But one thing he didn’t have to muck around with too much was a central premise of two young gay lovers.
The story follows two small-town teenage boys who, while hooking up in a cabin, witness a murder that is being investigated by the local sheriff. The LGBT community, he said, has really embraced the show which is the first to have gay characters at the center of a thriller. Universal Cable Productions and USA “were extremely supportive” saying it should go in the direction of Brokeback Mountain. “That’s what we did and we got a lot of support,” Hasak said.
In a word about NBC’s Shades Of Blue, Hasak admitted to having been intimidated by the idea of Jennifer Lopez as star but has found her to be “remarkable.” She is “a one-person conglomerate. I understand why she has the career she has.”