Filmmaker Ava DuVernay has found her next project following her critically acclaimed Netflix limited series When They See Us. The Selma director has signed on to helm a pilot for an adaptation of the comic series DMZ for Warner Bros.’ upcoming streaming service HBO Max. Per Variety, filming on the pilot is due to begin in early 2020, which means this project is taking precedence before DuVernay directs her big DC Comics movie New Gods at Warner Bros.
DMZ takes place in a near future where an American civil war has left Manhattan a demilitarized zone (hence the title) that is isolated from the rest of the world. The story follows a female medic who is desperately searching for her lost son in the DMZ while contending with gangs, militias, and warlords all the while saving lives along the way. It’s not entirely dissimilar from John Carpenter’s Escape from New York or its surf-fever-fueled sequel Escape from L.A., albeit one assumes this heroine is a bit less anti-hero than Snake Plissken.
Robert Patino is onboard as the show’s executive producer and showrunner, and his writing and producing credits include the first two seasons of Westworld, Sons of Anarchy, and Prime Suspect. He also wrote the upcoming Fear Street movies in the works at 20th Century Fox.
DuVernay is currently in the midst of a multi-year deal with Warner Bros. Television, which makes her involvement here not a huge surprise. This is far from her first time working in TV, having helmed the pilot for her OWN series Queen Sugar and an episode of Scandal. In between making waves with films like 13th and A Wrinkle in Time, DuVernay is also continuing to expand her producing efforts on the small screen.
The filmmaker is attached to helm the New Gods movie for Warner Bros., based on the DC comic of the same name, but news of DMZ certainly confirms that film isn’t on the immediate docket for WB. It’s understandable, though, as the studio just began production on James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and is gearing up to start filming The Batman early next year after taking a significant breather following the release of Shazam! WB very much seems to be taking it one film at a time now, but I’m hopeful DuVernay cracks New Gods in a way that makes the movie a priority for the studio sooner rather than later.
Regardless, DMZ sounds incredibly cool and I’m eager to see DuVernay’s take on a lawless world.