EXCLUSIVE: We’ve learned that Amazon has picked up five new pilots. We hear they are drama Carnival Row, from the Pacific Rim duo of Guillermo del Toro & Travis Beacham and Star Trek alum Rene Echeverria; dramedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel from Gilmore Girls creator Amy-Sherman Palladino; drama Strange New Things, from writer Matt Charman (Bridge of Spies) and director Kevin MacDonald; real-life superhero comedy The Legend of Master Legend, from writers Micah Fitzerman-Blue & Noah Harpster and pre-revolutionary Cuba drama Tropicana, from writers Josh Goldin & Rachel Abramowitz and producer Andrea Simon.
All five projects are from Amazon Studios; Carnival Row co-produced with Legendary TV; Strange New Things with UK’s Left Bank Pictures.
Carnival Row stems from a major development deal Amazon Studios inked in early 2015 for the project, a TV series version of Beacham’s cult 11-year-old supernatural feature spec script A Killing on Carnival Row. Amazon at the time ordered three scripts from the project, to be co-written by The 4400 co-creator Echeverria, del Toro, Beacham and Peter Cameron. Echevarria wrote the pilot script, which is going to production, and serves as showrunner. Del Toro, Beacham and Echevarria executive produce alongside Gary Ungar.
A Killing on Carnival Row is set in the future in a city called the Burgue, which looks a lot like 18th Century London. It is inhabited by humans and other creatures, and a serial killer is on the loose.
The Amazon pilot order caps an 11-year journey for Beacham, who originally sold his feature script to New Line and Koppelson Entertainment as a spec in 2005. Guillermo Del Toro and Neil Jordan flirted with the project while it was at New Line and then, following New Line’s absorption by Warner Bros., Arnold and Anne Kopelson tried shopping it to studios with Immortals helmer Tarsem Singh attached.
Sherman-Palladino’s dramedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which she wrote and executive produces, is about a 1950s housewife who decides to be one of the first female standup comics. Sherman-Palladino is currently in post-production on the four Gilmore Girls movies for Netflix, which serve as a sequel to her signature dramedy series.
The half-hour The Legend of Master Legend was written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster based on Joshuah Bearman’s Rolling Stone article about real-life superheros. It centers on Master Legend and his sidekick, the Ace. Fitzerman-Blue and Harpster are executive producing with Bearman.
Tropicana, written/executive produced by Josh Goldin and Rachel Abramowitz and executive produced by Andrea Simon, is set in pre-revolutionary Cuba in and around the world of The Tropicana nightclub. With the club as a focal point, the series explores the intersection of entertainers, the mob, Batista loyalists, Castro revolutionaries and the American CIA.
Strange New Things, which Deadline wrote about in April, was penned by Matt Charman, with Kevin MacDonald set to direct. An adaptation of Michel Faber’s praised 2014 book The Book Of Strange New Things, the story revolves around Peter Leigh, an English pastor who embarks on the journey of a lifetime into deep space that takes him light years away from his beloved wife, Bea. Described as “Heart Of Darkness in space,” Strange New Things is an epic with a heart-wrenching love story of a husband and wife with the universe between them at the center. Charman, MacDonald and Andy Harries exec produce.
Iconic musician Brian Eno will provide music and soundscape for the series, believed to be one of the most ambitious TV projects ever to emanate from the UK.