EXCLUSIVE: Trioscope Studios, the company behind Netflix’s upcoming WWII epic The Liberator, is to adapt a story about the CIA and Fidel Castro’s Cuba into a TV series, after partnering with long-form journalism venture Truly*Adventurous.
The two companies are working together to adapt The Havana Job, written by Truly*Adventurous co-founder Greg Nichols, into a series. Michael LeSieur, a writer on The Grinch and Keeping Up With The Joneses, has been tapped to adapt the project.
The Havana Job begins just months after the Cuban revolution, when three CIA agents bungle their way into Fidel Castro’s clutches while attempting to bug diplomatic offices in Havana. On the eve of the most dangerous international standoff of the 20th century, they barely avoid the firing squad and are sentenced to Cuba’s most notorious prison, The Isle of Pines. This is the previously classified story of a Hail Mary plan, a crew of prisoners and a woman who wouldn’t bow to authority as she fought to bring the three CIA agents home.
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The co-production is being exec produced by Trioscope co-founders L.C. Crowley, Brandon Barr and Greg Jonkajtys alongside development chief Brian Lavin as well as Truly*Adventurous co-founders Greg Nichols and Matthew Pearl.
L.C. Crowley told Deadline that it is starting to package the project and have conversations with producing partners. “It’s a bonkers story. It’s like The Dirty Dozen, it’s got heist, it’s got a wily Castro playing chess with the CIA, a lot of really good set piece work that lends itself to Trioscope,” Crowley said. “It’s maybe a little like Narcos, it’s about a world, about two factions that are banging up against each other, the first one being just after the Bay of Pigs and all of the things that happened such as exploding prisons.”
Crowley, Barr and Jonkajtys launched Trioscope earlier this year to develop projects in their eponymous hybrid animation technology that combines state-of-the-art CGI with live-action performance. The idea of the company is to reinvent the way that animation is made, bringing a photo-real level to human faces, character movement and action on a cost-effective budget.
Its first project is Netflix’s World War II animated drama series The Liberator, written by Jeb Stuart (Die Hard), directed by Greg Jonkajtys and produced by A&E Studios and Unique Features. The four-part series, which is set to air later this year, is based on Alex Kershaw’s book The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey and tells the riveting true story of the bloodiest and most dramatic march to victory of the Second World War: the battlefield odyssey of maverick U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks and his infantry unit as they fought for over 500 days to liberate Europe.
Crowley said that the hope is that The Liberator opens the door for more projects, calling it a Band of Brothers for a Call of Duty generation. He said that it is the latest adult animated project in a growing genre. “Adult animation has started to build steam,” he said. “Globally, the idea of adults watching animation for something other than comedy is a fairly normal concept, particular in Asia, with people watching anime, but in the U.S. it hasn’t really been a thing up until a few years ago. That clip has increased significantly in the 18/24 months with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse to Netflix’s Love, Death and Robots to Undone on Amazon.”
Crowley said that about half of its slate is original projects in the historical, political, sci-fi and fantasy spaces. The company is also working with Dark Horse Comics, Conaco, Unique Feature and Hulu on other projects. He said that the Coronavirus global pandemic has had a small knock-on effect but that the company is relatively lucky in the sense that a lot of its work is conducive to being done remotely. He added that it was experimenting on a development teaser on a new project that would see how it would be able to work during a prolonged shutdown.
It is the latest project for Truly*Adventurous, which launched last year. The company, which is run from a 42-foot boat in Marina del Rey, is working with the likes of Amazon Studios and Rachel Brosnahan (on Pillars of Fire), with Paramount TV (on The Red Flag) and Endeavor Content (on The Captain).
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