EXCLUSIVE: Producer-director Alan Poul (HBO’s Six Feet Under) has signed an exclusive overall deal with Endeavor Content to develop and produce premium scripted content for the indie studio owned by Endeavor.
Under the pact, Poul has joined Endeavor Content’s upcoming HBO Max drama series Tokyo Vice as executive producer.
The deal stems from Poul’s current collaboration with Endeavor Content; he is executive producing and directed two episodes of Oscar winner Damien Chazelle’s upcoming Netflix series The Eddy, which the studio is producing.
“Alan is not only one of the greatest producers around, but he is also a highly talented filmmaker and his illustrious production expertise makes him an invaluable partner to work with on The Eddy and Tokyo Vice,” said Endeavor Content SVP Television Joe Hipps. “With his extensive background at HBO, he also has impeccable taste in creating ground-breaking, high-end series that resonates with audiences on a global scale, and we are thrilled to continue the relationship with such an exemplary partner.”
In conjunction with the Endeavor Content deal, Poul’s company, Boku Films, has hired Sam Champtaloup as Director of Development.
“I’m so happy to be setting up shop at Endeavor Content, who have been such incomparable partners on The Eddy,” Poul said. “I’m excited to join Tokyo Vice, a project close to my heart, and to developing new material with the company.”
Based on the book by Jake Adelstein, Tokyo Vice comes from Tony-winning playwright J.T. Rogers and producer John Lesher and stars Ansel Elgort as an American journalist who embeds himself into the Tokyo Vice police squad to reveal corruption.
The project, which will film in Japan, is close to Poul’s heart because it is bringing him back to the beginning of his entertainment career.
Poul studied Japanese literature at Yale and was on a career path focused on Japanese arts and language while writing musicals as a hobby at night. But “I never planned on a career in film,” Poul said.
That was until Paul Schrader, through a mutual friend, invited him to go to Japan with him to work as an associate produce on his 1985 movie Mishima. That led to a similar gig for Poul on another Japan-set movie, Ridley Scott’s Black Rain.
“He melded the two tracks (Japanese culture and theater), and suddenly I became a film producer,” Poul said of Schrader. “I’m doing the job I’d never dreamt about, never thought would be a reality.”
After his first two movies, Poul made the conscious division not to do another Japan-related project.
“I felt I needed to establish myself as something different than a ‘Japan guy’,” Poul said. “I divorced myself from Japan.”
While he would visit the country occasionally to keep in touch with Japanese culture, Tokyo Vice marks his first job in Japan in 30 years, since 1989’s Black Rain.
Rogers and Lesher had been developing Tokyo Vice as a feature for years, with Daniel Radcliffe attached to star at one point. When the project became a series and was set up at HBO Max, the duo invited Poul to come onboard, bringing his career full circle, Poul said.
Written by Jack Thorne, the eight-part musical drama The Eddy is set in contemporary multicultural Paris, revolving around a club, its owner, the house band and the chaotic city that surrounds them. Poul is directing the series alongside Chazelle and Cannes’ Camera d’Or-winner Houda Benyamina.
Poul also has been executive producing Tom Rob Smith’s BBC/Starz series MotherFatherSon, starring Richard Gere, and Showtime’s Intelligence, a real-world scripted thriller from Oscar-winning filmmaker Mark Boal.
Poul recently produced and directed the new installment of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City for Netflix, starring Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Ellen Page and Zosia Mamet. Poul had produced the original Tales of the City series in 1994 as well as follow-up series More Tales of the City and Further Tales of the City.
Before that, Poul had a lengthy stint at HBO where he served as executive producer of Six Feet Under for the show’s entire five-season run, earning a directing Emmy nomination. At HBO, he also served as executive producer and director on Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom and as consulting producer on Westworld.
“I’ve had a long relationship with HBO where everyone has been incredibly good to me — I consider them family,” Poul said.
Speaking of his new Endeavor Content home, “the difference here is, Endeavor Content is providing me with infrastructure, resources, the ability to hire someone who I can develop with on a much larger scale,” Poul said. “What I want to do is build a portfolio, shoot more than one project at a time.”