EXCLUSIVE: The creator, executive producer and showrunner of the acclaimed HBO Max series Station Eleven, Patrick Somerville, and the series’ associate producer and editor David Eisenberg, have opened the doors to feature film and television production company Tractor Beam.
Somerville and Eisenberg first met on The Leftovers, hitting it off as friends and hoping to become eventual collaborators. They reteamed for Station Eleven, where during the long, often pandemic-induced delays, they hatched the idea for Tractor Beam, with the mission of making content that centers on the creatives and empowers them to control the filmmaking process.
Hilary Flynn and Stephanie Jacob-Goldman have been brought aboard as Tractor Beam’s VP of Development and VP of Production, respectively. Somerville currently has a deal at Paramount Television Studios.
“Our mission at Tractor Beam is to help creators get home,” said Somerville. “Streamers have opened up astounding new opportunities in television and film, for many different voices, but in a time of unprecedented expansion, we wanted to create a company centered around protecting the process, trust, and doing it right. David and I— as well as Hilary and Steph — are people who’ve learned from the ground up, and as a team we look forward to using what we’ve learned to create safe harbors for our creators and collaborators in the future.”
“One of the many things I love about Pat, is that he appreciates a cheeseburger just as much, if not more, than a meal at a three-star Michelin restaurant,” said Eisenberg. “And that he can eloquently monologue for hours about why. He’s a brilliant writer, producer, creator, but an even better friend. Together, I can’t wait to tell more stories that deserve to be told, and with our Tractor Beam team, we couldn’t be more excited to help other creators do the same.”
Among the first two projects in development is the feature adaptation of the acclaimed novel Gringos, by Charles Portis (True Grit). Somerville and Mexican filmmaker Mauricio Katz (ZeroZeroZero) will write the screenplay, with Katz also attached to direct. Producers include Somerville and Eisenberg through Tractor Beam, Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell through Stone Village Films, and Stephen Purvis, who held the rights to the book, through All My Friends Films.
Gringos follows Jimmy Burns, an expatriate American living in Mexico, whose simple South-of-the-Border existence is jeopardized by a ninety-pound stalker named Louise, a sudden wave of “hippies” led by a murderous ex-con guru and a group of archaeologists who are illegally unearthing Mayan tombs. The project is a reunion of sorts as Somerville, Eisenberg, Katz, Steindorff and Russell worked together on Station Eleven, with the latter two executive producing.
The second project is sci-fi feature Ursa Major, written by Somerville, Katie French and Colleen O’Brien. Jonathan and Josh Baker are attached to direct. Somerville, Eisenberg, Mason Novick, John Finemore, Allen Fischer and Brian Steinberg will produce, and casting is now underway. In this sci-fi thriller set on a terraformed planet, a mother and daughter fight for survival while hiding from a group of relentless hunters. With the added threat of an imminent and deadly storm, Natalie – now a teenager – begins questioning her mother, Charlie, about who they really are, how they got here, and what they need to do to survive.
Previously, Somerville created and served as co-showrunner of the Netflix series Maniac, starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, and was a writer and supervising producer on HBO’s critically acclaimed The Leftovers. He has been nominated for awards by both the Producers Guild of America and Writers Guild of America. Somerville is also a novelist, having penned Trouble (2006), The Cradle (2009), The Universe in Miniature in Miniature (2010) and This Bright River (2012). He is repped by WME, Artists First and attorneys Jamie Mandelbaum and Jeff Hynick at Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer.
Emmy Award-nominated Eisenberg’s previous credits include serving as editor on seminal series including Watchmen, Westworld, The Leftovers and Bates Motel.
Katz is repped by UTA, Range Media and attorney Ken Richman at Hansen Jacobson.
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