A new scripted series set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War from Nashville showrunners and thirtysomething creators Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz is on its way to Discovery, it was revealed today during Lionsgate’s third-quarter earnings call with analysts. The series is part of a multi-year, first-look deal Zwick and Herskovitz have with Lionsgate to create and produce scripted programming. A 2018 airdate is planned.
The new project comes on the heels of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s Vietman docuseries that is coming out this fall on PBS, so Vietnam War material is hot again. The Zwick-Herskovitz project is based on an unpublished memoir by Vietnam veteran and former Greenpeace International executive Stephen McCallister.
This is the second long-form scripted series Lionsgate is feeding into Discovery, having already placeed Manhunt: The UNABOMer starring Sam Worthington and Paul Bettany with the cable network.
In addition, Lionsgate execs revealed today that they will handle the home entertainment part of Luc Besson’s upcoming $180 million-budgeted Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets as part of a multi-year agreement it signed with EuropaCorp. That’s interesting in that STX Motion Pictures Group has made a three-year deal with EuropaCorp to release and market films from Besson’s production company, and have a home entertainment agreement in place with Universal, but are not putting the films through there.
We know there are three films from EuropaCorp that may fit into the Lionsgate home entertainment deal. They are:
— The James Ponsoldt-helmed The Circle starring Tom Hanks, Emma Watson and John Boyega.
— The Lone Scherfig-directed Their Finest, a romantic comedy-drama set in World War II Great Britain starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy.
— The Steven Quale-directed Renegades, described as “a visceral heist adventure” written by Besson and Richard Wenk. It stars Sullivan Stapleton and J.K. Simmons.
Going back to the Vietnam project, McAllister entered the U.S. Army in August 1968 and was trained as an infantry point man and scout dog handler. He served in Vietnam with the 25th Division at Cu Chi and was released from the Army in July 1970. After the war, McAllister attended college then he joined the crew of the Greenpeace vessel named the Rainbow Warrior. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Oceana, an ocean advocacy group, with Keith Addis who is executive producing along with Tony Thomopoulos.