Newly minted Oscar winner Ed Berger, director, co-writer and producer of All Quiet On the Western Front, which was named Best International Film last night, is set to direct and executive produce Helltown, an eight-episode crime thriller in development at Amazon Studios from Mohamad El Masri (Severance), Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey’s Team Downey. Oscar Isaac (Moon Knight) is in discussions to star in and executive produce the project, based on the book of the same name by Casey Sherman.
Written by El Masri, who serves as executive producer and showrunner, Helltown centers on Kurt Vonnegut (Isaac) before he was a renowned author and cultural lightning rod. In 1969 Kurt was a struggling novelist and car salesman living life with his wife and five children on Cape Cod. When two women disappear and are later discovered murdered underneath the sand dunes on the outskirts of Provincetown, Kurt becomes obsessed and embroiled in the chilling hunt for a serial killer and forms a dangerous bond with the prime suspect.
Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey and Amanda Burrell executive produce for Team Downey; Isaac would executive produce with Gena Konstantinakos through his Mad Gene banner, which would produce alongside Team Downey and Amazon Studios. Sherman also executive produces.
Berger’s All Quiet on the Western Front earned nine Oscar nominations, winning four trophies — a historic haul for a German film — including Best International Feature film, Best Production Design, Best Music (Original Score) and Best Cinematography. Berger also won for Best Direction at the BAFTAs where All Quiet swept top categories, including Best Film, Best Film Not the English Language, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, and Best Sound. In TV, Berger won a BAFTA in 2019 for miniseries Patrick Melrose. His TV credits also include Your Honor, The Terror and Deutschland ’83. Berger is repped by Range Media Partners, CAA and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.
Isaac, who recently headlined Marvel’s Disney+ series Moon Knight, can be seen alongside Rachel Brosnahan in the revival of Lorraine Hanberry’s The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, directed by Anne Kauffman at the BAM Harvey Theater. Last year, he was nominated for a SAG and Emmy award for HBO’s Scenes from a Marriage. Isaac launched Mad Gene in 2019 with his wife, writer and director Elvira Lind. The company’s first project, short film The Letter Room, was nominated for a 2021 Academy Award. He is repped by WME and Goodman Genow Schenkman.
El Masri serves as a co-executive producer on Apple TV+’s Severance, currently in production on its second season. His other series credits include HBO’s Here and Now. El Masri is repped by UTA, Anonymous Content and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.
Sherman is a bestselling author of 17 books, including The Finest Hours, which was adapted for a 2016 film, starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck, by Disney; and Patriots Day, adapted for a 2016 film, starring Mark Wahlberg, by CBS Films. He is repped by The Gotham Group, UTA and VanderKloot Law.
Team Downey”s Netflix documentary Sr., about the life and career of filmmaker Robert Downey Sr., won the 2022 National Board of Review Best Documentary Award. Season 2 of the company’s HBO series Perry Mason is now airing. Coming up are Season 2 of Netflix’s Sweet Tooth and new HBO/A24 series The Sympathizer. The company is also in post-production on Downey’s Dream Cars for Discovery+. On the film side, Team Downey is producing Play Dirty, the first project out of its Amazon Studios partnership to develop a series of film and TV projects based on Donald E. Westlake’s Parker series of crime fiction novels.
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