Series from Fox 21 and FX Prods. revolves around the son of a Middle Eastern dictator who returns to his home country with his American family after 20 years in the U.S. Once there, he’s drawn into political and familial turmoil.
Raff, who created the Israeli series “Prisoner of War” on which “Homeland” was based, wrote the pilot and exec produces with “Homeland” steward Howard Gordon and Craig Wright. David Yates directed the pilot.
“ ‘Tyrant’ introduces characters and a world that have never been explored in a dramatic television series format. There is a reason a bidding war broke out over this project: it grabs you as all great epics do and simply refuses to let go,” FX Networks prez John Landgraf said.
FX’s order for the show will be at least 10 episodes, possibly more. Production is to begin in March in Tel Aviv for a summer premiere.
“Tyrant” was a hot property when it was shopped to broadcast and cable nets more than a year ago because of the heat of “Homeland.” Raff is among a new breed of Israeli writer-producers whose formats and series are sought after by U.S. nets. Keshet Broadcasting, the Israeli home of “Prisoner of War,” is also an exec producer on “Tyrant.”
Ang Lee was set to direct the pilot at one point, fresh off his Oscar win for “Life of Pi,” but eventually bowed out. “Tyrant’s” ensemble cast includes Adam Rayner, Jennifer Finnigan, Ashraf Barhom, Moran Atias, Noah Silver, Anne Winters, Fares Fares, Salim Daw, Justin Kirk, Jordana Spiro, Mehdi Dehbi and Alice Krige.
“This project embodies our studio’s guiding principle: get into business with incredible talent and challenge them to swing for the fences,” said 20th Century Fox Television chairmen-CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman. “This is one of the most ambitious series we’ve ever set out to make.”