ABC has woken up to “Insomnia,” ordering a put pilot from Warner Bros. TV loosely based on last year’s Al Pacino movie of the same name.
Project, which is untitled at the moment, will be written by scribe Hillary Seitz, who penned the feature script. Seitz has partnered with former “ER” exec producer Jack Orman, who will serve as showrunner should it go to series.
Orman will executive produce, along with Alcon Entertainment principals Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. Seitz will co-exec produce.
Alcon, which produced the film, recently sealed a deal with Warner Bros. TV to produce series for the small screen (Daily Variety, Sept. 29).
“It’s a nice way to really launch the TV division,” Johnson said. “It shows part of the synergy we were hoping to achieve with the new department.”
“Insomnia” starred Al Pacino as a big city police detective who travels to Alaska to investigate a murder — and ends up accidentally killing his partner in the process.
Seitz said the TV drama will pick up where “Insomnia” left off, focusing on the character of Det. Ellie Burr, played by Hilary Swank in the movie.
“The Hilary Swank character seemed like the obvious choice to be the engine of the show,” Seitz said. “It will have the same tone, and some of the same characters as the movie, but it’s more of a chapter two. It’s not a prerequisite that you had to see the movie to be in on it.”
Like “Insomnia,” the project will also be set in Alaska and explore the seedy underbelly of the last frontier.
“We wanted to capture the real Alaska, not the cutesy Alaska,” she said. “When I did my research, I was struck by how menacing, how secretive a place it is.”
Because Seitz has never done TV, Orman was brought in to supervise the writing process and oversee the show. Project reps the first under his new Jack Orman Prods. shingle.
“I watched the movie and realized it was a perfect platform for adaptation,” he said. “This will be a law enforcement ensemble, with a young female detective at its core. Everyone has really embraced the world that was created (in ‘Insomnia’), but now we’ll be able to offer something new, we’ll be able to explore a lot more of the community and the town.”
Orman spent the last three years as exec producer/showrunner on “ER.” He spent six years total on the show, and directed three episodes. Before that, he was a co-producer on “JAG.”