EXCLUSIVE: Oscar- and Emmy-winning director Barry Levinson is moving into the world of interactive storytelling. Levinson and his The Levinson Fontana Company is teaming with interactive video entertainment company eko on a new live-action drama series in which the viewer decides the course of the story. The Jury Room (working title), which will be directed by Levinson, is slated for a 2020 release on eko’s platform.
The Jury Room (wt) is set in the trial of a domestic terror event, in which unearthed evidence of possible government involvement and a subsequent cover-up is debated by twelve jurors. The viewer is one of them, navigating the social dynamics of the jury room as well as the evidence itself to decide the verdict.
“At eko, we are all about giving viewers meaningful choices that deeply shape the narrative. So it is a particular thrill to collaborate with a master of filmmaking like Barry. His films are truly part of the American canon, and it’s a testament to his relentless creative curiosity that he’s making a choice-driven series with us,” said Alex Vlack, Vice President of Creative at eko. “We can’t wait to have Barry at the helm of this project.”
Levinson is producing with his partners Jason Sosnoff and Tom Fontana. The Levinson Fontana Company’s previous series include Oz for HBO, Homicide: Life on the Street, Copper for BBC America, The Borgias and City on a Hill for Showtime.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the dynamics of a jury room,” said Levinson. “That the fate of someone can be determined by those dynamics. In a certain way, it represents how we debate each other, form opinions, hold biases, but ideally reach an agreement by being good listeners while also standing up for what we regard as the truth. To play out those elements in an interactive story makes the series really exciting for me.”
Interest in interactive storytelling surged amid the popularity of Emmy-winning Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, the feature-length Black Mirror episode which took home the 2019 Emmy for outstanding television movie.
Levinson, who won a best directing Oscar for Rain Man and best directing Emmy for Homicide: Life on the Street, is in production on his next project, fact-based historical drama Harry Haft, starring Ben Foster, for BRON Films and New Mandate Films, which he is directing and producing.
eko’s live-action fiction series include That Moment When with Olive Bridge Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment, and #WarGames with MGM. The company has also partnered with Bullitt, Duplass Brothers’ DBP Donut, Paul Feig’s Powderkeg, GLOW’s Kimmy Gatewood, Nora Kirkpatrick and Funny Or Die, and others on upcoming interactive series.