Ramping up a YA slate was one of the first major programming initiatives of Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke after she joined the company last year. The company greenlighted three YA drama pilots, Panic, College and The Wilds. Of the other two, College is not going forward, while The Wilds remains in contention.
Written and created by Oliver based on her novel published by HarperCollins, Panic centers on a small town in America where every year the graduating seniors engage in a competition they believe is their one chance to escape. But this year, the rules have changed — and they must decide how much they are willing to risk in order to get out.
“Panic tells a story aimed at young adults, but anyone would be pulled in by the compelling characters and high-stakes drama brought to life by Lauren Oliver,” Salke said. “She is a rare talent in her ability to capture this generation so authentically.”
Panic stars Olivia Welch as Heather, Mike Faist as Dodge, Ray Nicholson as Ra, and Will Chase as Sheriff Kean.
Oliver executive produces with Joe Roth & Jeff Kirschenbaum of Roth Kirschenbaum Films (Maleficent 2) and Adam Schroeder. Alyssa Altman serves as co-executive producer along with Lynley Bird of Glasstown Entertainment, the company led by Oliver and Lexa Hillyer. Leigh Janiak directed and executive produced the pilot.
“I am excited that Amazon is broadening its scope to include stories of emergent adulthood, and grateful that Panic will be among their first generation,” said Oliver. “This has already been my favorite kind of project: long, thrilling, challenging, and immensely transformative. And we haven’t even started pre-production!”
Oliver widely popular novels have been translated into 35 languages. She also penned the Delirium trilogy — Delirium, Pandemonium and Requiem — and Before I Fall, which was adapted into a 2017 film from Open Road. Her deal was negotiated by UTA, Stephen Barbara of Inkwell and attorney Jamie Feldman.
Janiak is repped by Verve and Morris Yorn.