EXCLUSIVE: In competitive bidding, Showtime has landed Guantanamo, a drama series series that will start with a 10-episode first season. Oliver Stone is poised to direct the two-hour opening episode in what marks the three-time Oscar winning filmmaker’s first foray in scripted television. Weinstein Television acquired the project in May.
Created by Daniel Voll (The Unit), who will also serve as showrunner, Guantanamo focuses on the detainees held in the world’s most controversial prison, and those who defend and condemn them. Alexandra Milchan (The Wolf Of Wall Street) will produce with Weinstein Television. This adds to a flurry of high-caliber director driven television series deals for Weinstein, which includes Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone at Paramount TV, series with David O Russell and Mad Men‘s Matt Weiner at Amazon, and the John Erick Dowdle & Dennie Gordon-directed Waco at Paramount TV. TWC’s Harvey Weinstein and David Glasser will be executive producers on Guantanamo. They and TV chief Megan Spanjian orchestrated the auction.
Sources say Guantanamo will open a writers room August 1. Production is expected to begin later this year. The deal for Guantanamo comes after Showtime broadcast on consecutive nights in June the four hourlong installments of The Putin Interviews, in which Stone grilled Russian president Vladimir Putin about the divisive issues in Russian-U.S. relations.
Guantanamo Bay is equally hot button subject matter. The detention camp was opened after the September 11 attacks to interrogate and imprison suspects in the war on terror. Human rights organizations condemn the treatment, including various forms of torture, of the 780 prisoners held at Guantanamo. In 2009, President Barack Obama vowed to close the camp, but was met with opposition. The camp remains open with 41 prisoners today.
At the time Weinstein Television landed the project, Weinstein Company co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said “It’s always been a dream of mine to work with Oliver. I’m a longtime fan and he’s one of our greatest filmmakers of all time. This is explosive material that will work from all sides. Daniel Voll’s incredible resume will make this amazing collaboration between him and Oliver both newsworthy and super watchable.”
Voll promised the series would be “immersive, highly cinematic…filled with twists and turns, that explores the dark side of how America prosecutes its war on terror.”