Only days after it was taken out, Maniac, the hot Paramount TV/Anonymous Content half-hour series starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill and directed by Cary Fukunaga, has found a home at Netflix. I have learned that the streaming service is finalizing a deal on a straight-to-series 10-episode order for the dark comedy project based on the 2014 Norwegian series about a guy who lives a fantasy life in his dreams but in reality is locked up at an institution. Fukunaga is expected to helm all episodes.
Maniac marks the second straight-to-series pickup at Netflix for Paramount TV, joining the Selena Gomez-produced Thirteen Reasons Why. The high-profile Maniac — the first Paramount TV show sold with top feature actors attached to star — marks the latest big sale for the company, launched in 2013 by Paramount Pictures topper Brad Grey with Amy Powell at the helm. Over the past year, it has grown into a major indie TV supplier, landing five series orders, including The Alienist at TNT, also with Fukunaga and Anonymous, and Berlin Station at Epix; four pilot orders, including Citizen and When The Street Lights Go On at Hulu with Anonymous; and produced the highly rated Grease live special for Fox.
The premise of Maniac revolves around the fantasy world of Hill’s character, who in his real life, is confined to a mental institution. Stone plays a fellow patient. The duo and Fukunaga will executive produce along with Oscar winner Michael Sugar and Doug Wald of Anonymous Content, Kruke Kristiansen & Anne Kolbjornsen and Espen PA Lervaag & Kjetil Indegard. Ashley Zalta will co-executive produce. Search is underway for a writer.
The project, which stems from Fukunaga and Anonymous’ deals with Paramount TV, marks Anonymous’ third series at Netflix, joining Thirteen Reasons Why (with Paramount TV), which has set Tom McCarthy to direct the first two episodes, and The OA, a collaboration with Plan B.
The original Maniac drama series, from Lilyhammer producer Rubicon TV, is written and directed by Hakon Bast Mossige and Espen PA Lervaag who also star in the show, airing on TV2. It is produced by Pal Kristiansen and Anna Kolbjørnsen of Rubicon TV and distributed by EspenHuseby of Nordic World.
Fukunaga is coming off writing, directing and producing the acclaimed feature Beasts of No Nation. In TV, he previously teamed with Anonymous for another big series package headlined by a duo of movie stars, True Detective starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Fukunaga won an Emmy for his directing work on the first installment of the HBO crime anthology series where he also helmed all episodes.
Hill and Stone are both Oscar nominees – Hill for Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street and Stone for Birdman. The two previously worked together in the comedy feature Superbad.
Anonymous is coming off a best picture Oscar win for Spotlight, while Paramount TV is coming off the success of its live musical Grease on Fox.
Stone, Hill and Fukunaga are repped by WME; the format from Nordic World is repped by Paradigm.
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