The Man In The High Castle‘s Frank Spotnitz wasted no time tonight addressing the elephant in the DGA Theater – sort of. “No, I am hugely proud of the show and very excited about its future as well,” said the now ex-showrunner on if he had anything to add to the news that Deadline broke last week that he is leaving the position for Season 2. “I am really glad that you guys are here to call attention to the amazing work that everyone on stage has done,” he added at the start of a panel on High Castle held in Hollywood on what was his first public appearance since the news got out.
A very otherwise chatty Spotnitz on other topics joined cast, producers and key creatives from the Amazon series for a packed FYC event tonight at the Directors Guild HQ. With the primary focus being the look and creation of the world of the early 1960s set alt-history series where the Axis powers won World War 2 and the Nazis and Imperial Japan have carved up America, High Castle was out in force. Also there with Spotnitz on Monday were actors Joel de la Fuente, Alexa Davalos and Rufus Sewell plus production designer Drew Boughton, costume designer Audrey Fisher, cinematographer James Hawkinson, director/EP David Semel and EPs Isa Dick Hackett and David Zucker.
In fact, Spotnitz’s Big Light Productions even partially live tweeted the Emmy consideration event this evening:
— FrankSpotnitz (@FrankSpotnitz) May 24, 2016
As Deadline exclusively reported on May 19, Spotnitz exited his showrunner gig on The Man In The High Castle, with sources telling me that the producer behind the Amazon series based on Philip K Dick’s 1962 alternative history novel left after clashing with the streaming service over the production of the show’s second season. No new showrunner is being brought on board to replace the Europe-based Spotnitz and the current production team will take over his responsibilities.
The quick departure of Spotnitz has also seen the Vancouver-shot show today go on an immediate hiatus last Thursday. In the middle of production on High Castle‘s second season, that break is expected to last until around June 6.
In a statement last week, Amazon said: “Given the ambition and scope of the series, the decision has been made to locate all creative efforts on The Man in the High Castle to the west coast; Frank Spotnitz will remain as an Executive Producer and step back from showrunner. His responsibilities will be managed by our deep and talented bench of producers. We are enormously grateful to him for bringing our customers on one of the most watched original shows on Amazon Video and we are excited about the team’s vision for sSason two.”
With its tale of an America sternly ruled by victorious Axis powers, The Man In The High Castle first appeared on Amazon on January 15, 2015 after the Spotnitz developed project had looked for a home for several years beforehand. With the High Castle pilot quickly became one of the most watched pieces of original content on the streaming service, Amazon picked the show up for series the next month. On November 20 last year, a full 10-episode first season debuted.
Spotnitz EP’d the first season along with Scott Free Productions’ Ridley Scott and Zucker, and Dick Hackett, the well reviewed and streaming record breaking High Castle was renewed for a second 10-episode season on December 18, 2015. Davalos, Luke Kleintank, Sewell, Rupert Evans, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and de la Fuente starred in the drama, which is expected to come back later this year.
While leaving High Castle, Spotnitz is also currently working on the Renaissance set Medici: Masters of Florence. Starring Dustin Hoffman as Giovanni de’ Medici and Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden as his son Cosimo de’ Medici, the eight-episode first season of the series was created by Spotnitz and Nicolas Meyer and is being sold internationally by Wild Bunch TV.