EXCLUSIVE: In his first TV foray since winning an Emmy for True Detective and following with the Emma Stone-Jonah Hill series Maniac, Cary Joji Fukunaga will direct the first three episodes of Masters of the Air, the Apple TV+ World War II epic limited series from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Tom Hanks & Gary Goetzman’s Playtone. This will also be his first directing assignment since helming the James Bond film No Time to Die.
The producers made a deal last October to bring to Apple TV+ the epic 10-episode adaptation of the Donald L. Miller book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany. Fukunaga’s Parliament of Owls will join the producing roster.
Apple is simultaneously nearing a first-look deal with Fukunaga and Parliament of Owls to develop TV projects, bringing the Beasts of No Nation and Sin Nombre helmer into the Apple fold. It’s the latest in a series of filmmaker deals that include Martin Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way, Idris Elba’s Green Door Pictures, Ridley Scott’s Scott Free, A24 and Imagine Documentaries.
Masters of the Air is a follow-up to the producers’ Emmy-winning World War II HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific, which they made for HBO. Each won the Emmy for Best Limited Series; Band of Brothers won seven total Emmys in 20 nominations, while The Pacific won eight Emmys in 24 nominations. Masters of the Air began development at HBO but shook loose as the outlet was overhauled. Apple secured it quickly.
Deadline hears that the series will span 10 episodes that will cost well north of $200 million to produce, telling a deeply personal story of the American and British bomber boys who brought the war to Hitler’s doorstep in WWII. Shooting is expected to begin in March in London.
Fukunaga’s 007 film was just pushed back to April 2021 because of the pandemic. He had been courted to direct several films, but chose this instead. It was the first series greenlit with Apple serving as the studio.
Spielberg, Hanks and Goetzman will be the EPs, and Amblin Television’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey will be co-executive producers along with Steven Shareshian of Playtone. The series is being written by Band of Brothers alumnus John Orloff and Graham Yost, who are also co-executive producers.
As for Fukunaga’s TV résumé, his work on the first season of True Detective not only helped launch his career but won him an Emmy for Best Director for a limited series or movie. Parliament of Owls President of Development and production Hayden Lautenbach will oversee the first look Apple deal for Fukunaga. Fukunaga is repped by Sugar23, WME and Lichter Grossman.
Below is the one-shot take from the climax of the episode that won him the award, and a good brawl between partners to remind of the accomplishment of that first True Detective season:
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