Last summer we told you that creator/producer Amando Iannucci was not done at HBO. He has given us VEEP and AVENUE 5 but now executive produces a show that just got the green light called THE FRANCHISE. Here is the official press release:
HBO has picked up comedy THE FRANCHISE to series, it was announced today by Amy Gravitt, Executive Vice President, HBO Programming and Head of HBO & Max Comedy Series. Logline: The crew of an unloved franchise movie fight for their place in a savage and unruly cinematic universe. THE FRANCHISE shines a light on the secret chaos inside the world of superhero moviemaking, to ask the question — how exactly does the cinematic sausage get made? Because every f*ck-up has an origin story.
Executive producers are Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Nicolas Brown, and Julie Pastor for Neal Street Productions; Armando Iannucci for Dundee Productions; Jon Brown, and Jim Kleverweis. The pilot was directed by Sam Mendes and written by Jon Brown, who serves as showrunner. Series regulars are Himesh Patel as Daniel, Aya Cash as Anita, Jessica Hynes as Steph, Billy Magnussen as Adam, Lolly Adefope as Dag, Darren Goldstein as Pat, and Isaac Powell as Bryson. Recurring guest stars include Richard E. Grant as Peter and Daniel Brühl as Eric.
Now that is a pretty strong team both behind and in front of the camera. We all know Iannucci’s VEEP is in the pantheon of HBO comedy and that Jon Brown worked aside Iannucci there and went on to co-produce SUCCESSION. As for Mendes, this will mark his TV directing debut but, is coming off of films like Skyfall and 1917. As for the cast, we know Patel from AVENUE 5 and STATION ELEVEN, Grant from GIRLS and GAME OF THRONES, and Magnussen from stints on BOARDWALK EMPIRE and THE LEFTOVERS, but most notably, for us, appeared as the younger Paulie in THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK.
The ruling to take on the series at HBO was based on a pilot episode that was generated well before the strikes hit Hollywood. Production will not move forward until they are resolved. We leave with a quote from Amy Gravitt from HBO Programming: “With a deft touch only he can bring, Sam has brilliantly captured the romance and the reality of filmmaking today. Jon is superb at sending up worlds we think we already know. Together, with Armando, they have delivered a truly hilarious comedy ensemble. I can’t wait to see more.”
We will ruminate more on this project as it moves forward so stay close.