Back in August, we learned that The Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle director David O. Russell was putting together a TV project with Julianne Moore and Robert De Niro set to star. It was obvious from the word “go” that this series was going to be a major get and prestige player for whatever network landed it, and today brings the news that Amazon and The Weinstein Company have secured a two-season commitment for the series for a pretty penny — $160 million to be exact.
The report from Deadline also offers up some new details on the untitled series, which is reportedly a mafia crime drama (the first report suggested it was set in the 90s, but no time period is mentioned in the latest update). Each of the two seasons will consist of eight episodes, with Russell writing and directing the lot. Russell will also produce alongside Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison, who collaborated with Russell on Joy and American Hustle, as well as Alexandra Milchan (Bullett to the Head) and Scott Lambert (Paranoia).
Amazon and The Weinstein Co. reportedly won out in a competitive situation, with FX also vying for the project. And the streaming service makes a natural fit for the auteur-driven series (though FX would have been a grand pairing as well), having recently provided a home for Woody Allen‘s Crisis in Six Scenes and Walt Stillman‘s The Cosmopolitans. Amazon and The Weinstein Company recently teamed up for another high-profile score with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner‘s untitled return to TV. Russell previously teamed with The Weinstein Company on The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook.
It’s always fascinating to see how a long-time filmmaker adapts to the TV medium and exciting when that filmmaker is given creative control over the entirety of the series. It’s the kind of auteur-driven approach that led to the success of Carey Fukunaga‘s first season of True Detective and Stephen Soderbergh‘s work on The Knick, where you can see the vision of the single helmer played out over a long-form narrative. I’ve found Russell’s films to be a bit bloated as of late, so I’m particularly curious to see how he utilizes the unique pacing of the serialized format.
What do you guys think? Is David O. Russell a good fit for the TV format? Is Amazon a good fit for Russell? Did you ever think you’d see Robert De Niro in a TV series? Sound off in the comments.