EXCLUSIVE: Amazon’s Audible, The Man in the High Castle producer Big Light Productions and Vespucci have teamed up to develop a slate of podcasts with a scripted series starring Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as one of its first projects.
Coster-Waldau will star in Mask of Sanity, a serial killer story based on a true story from Bulgarian journalist, Dimiter Kenarov.
Mask of Sanity, which Coster-Waldau will co-produce via his Ill Kippers Productions banner, with producing partner and series writer Joe Derrick, follows the story of a journalist reporting on a serial killer, but with a secret of his own. Ill Kippers’ Vice President Jeffrey Chassen will also serve as co-producer.
The series will be joined by Killer Book Club, a documentary true crime thriller exploring the much-covered case of British private school teacher and novelist Peter Farquhar who was murdered by church warden Benjamin Field, his much younger lover and former student.
It was created by Gillian Pachter (The Ruth Ellis Files: A Very British Crime Story) and Julia Nottingham (XY Chelsea) and her production company Dorothy St Pictures.
The series will start airing on Audible later in 2021.
The partnership marks the first time that The X-Files writer Frank Spotnitz’s company is moving into podcasts. Spotnitz will serve as creative lead across the development slate and executive produce alongside Big Light Productions’ Emily Feller.
Meanwhile, it is the latest podcast deal for Vespucci, which was founded by Daniel Turcan and Johnny Galvin, and works with a slew of journalists around the world to develop, create and unearth new IP that can be used for film, TV and podcast projects. Vespucci will provide stories incubated via this consortium with the company’s Head of Podcasts Peter Sale overseeing alongside Matt Willis, Vespucci’s Head of Content, and Thomas Curry.
WME brokered the deal on behalf of Vespucci with Audible’s Tom Guest, Ben Chapman and Lydia Shamah.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau said, “Mask of Sanity is a great example of the storytelling that Joe Derrick and myself want Ill Kippers to make. Entertaining, unexpected and thought-provoking, keeping the audience guessing right to the end. We are thrilled to be given the opportunity to work with the good people at Big Light Productions and Vespucci and can’t wait to share it with listeners everywhere through Audible.”
Aurelie De Troyer, SVP, International Content at Audible, said, “We are thrilled to be a part of this unique collaborative partnership with Vespucci and Big Light. Vespucci’s close ties with the journalistic community, and the world-class storytelling expertise of Frank Spotnitz and the team at Big Light will create timely, true stories with depth and relevance – a huge opportunity for us in both factual and scripted podcasts as consumer interest in innovative and engaging audio content continues to grow.”
“It’s so exciting for Big Light to be taking this step into podcasts. With writers being central to the process, we love creating big stories with complex characters, and our partnership with Audible and Vespucci allows us to explore a different way of telling them. There is a huge amount of rich material to be mined both through our original fiction podcasts as well as non-scripted projects. And with some incredible talent lined up, these are already shaping up to be gripping listening. Being huge podcasts fans ourselves, we can’t wait,” added Big Light Productions’ Frank Spotnitz and Emily Feller.
“At Vespucci, we’re fortunate to partner with incredible creatives and journalists from all over the world, developing stories for podcast, TV and film projects. We strive to find innovative ways to amplify journalists and create new avenues to tell their stories. This is the perfect collaboration for us, working alongside the powerhouse that is Big Light Productions, to serve up meaningful, engaging content exclusive to the wide-reaching Audible platform. We’re looking forward to further developing our production slate and partnering with some of the best in this industry,” added Vespucci’s Daniel Turcan and Johnny Galvin.