As we mark the second anniversary of TV writer Henry Bromell’s death, one of his final works is taking a step to the screen. USA Network has given a pilot order to Falling Water, a supernatural thriller from Bromell, Brotherhood creator Blake Masters and The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) on board to direct.
Masters and Bromell wrote Falling Water — set in the world of dreams and subconsciousness — on spec before the Homeland executive producer’s sudden death on March 18, 2013. The idea came up in a general meeting the two took with Hurd. “When we discussed arenas of interest, the dream world was one that fascinated all of us,” she said. Masters and Bromell sent her the Falling Water spec, which she loved, and the three had a notes meeting about two weeks before Bromell passed away.
It was too difficult for everyone to work on the project immediately after the tragedy, so they only began developing it about a year ago at Universal Cable Prods. where Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment has a deal. Fresnadillo came on board, and the script was taken to USA whose executives loved it.
“The immensely talented and prolific storytellers, Blake and Henry, have created an innovative thriller and compelling vehicle to bring the subject of dreams to television,” said “USA’s EVP original series Jackie de Crinis.
Described as a mind-bending thriller intersecting reality and unconscious thoughts, Falling Water tells the story of three unrelated people, who slowly realize that they are dreaming separate parts of a single common dream. Each is on a quest for something that can only be found in their subconscious — a missing girlfriend, a son, a way to communicate with a catatonic mother. However, the more they begin to use the dream world as a tool to advance their hidden agendas, they realize that their visions are trying to tell them something and that their very real lives are at stake. Hurd, Masters and Fresnadillo executive produce, with Bromell also receiving a posthumous exec producer credit.
Falling Water is the latest in USA’s efforts to veer into edgier, more complex dramas as it moves away from its “blue sky” brand of escapist fare.
Bromell and Masters first worked together on the 2006 Showtime drama Brotherhood, created by Masters who was coming from the feature world. Since he had no TV experience, the network suggested that he partnered with a seasoned TV writer producer, and he immediately hit it off with Bromell. The two later worked together on the AMC thriller Rubicon.
Bromell, who won a writing Emmy after his death for an episode of Homeland, also worked on Homicide, I’ll Fly Away, which earned him a Humanitas Prize, and Northern Exposure. In addition to blockbuster The Walking Dead, Hurd also executive produces its new companion series, which just received a two-season order by AMC, and has a straight-to-series order at Syfy for Hunters. In TV, Masters also co-created with Dick Wolf Law & Order: LA.
Falling Water is the first 2015 pilot order at USA, which has one drama pilot left in consideration from its 2014 batch, Queen of the South. Of the others, two went to series, alien occupation drama Colony and hacker drama Mr. Robot. This marks Hurd’s return to USA where she previously executive produced the 2013 high-concept drama pilot Horizon.
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