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Wachowskis shopping their first TV series

Georgeville, J. Michael Straczynski team with hyphenates for drama 'Sense8'

The Wachowskis are diving into television for the first time, shopping a series with Georgeville TV and sci-fi/fantasy vet J. Michael Straczynski.

The concept for the hourlong skein dubbed “Sense8” is being kept tightly under wraps as the partners begin the process of shopping it to a range of outlets with the goal of landing an order for multiple episodes. The project is the latest to come from Straczynski’s newly formed Studio JMS banner, which is also working on features, Web series and comicbook titles.

Andy and Lana Wachowski have been collaborating on “Sense8” for some time and have penned three spec scripts out of their zeal to work out the ambitious concept, which is described as in keeping with the unusual storytelling style the Wachowskis are known for from “The Matrix” movies. The hyphenates hit the big screen again this month with the long-awaited “Cloud Atlas,” which bows Oct. 26.

Straczynski created the 1990s sci-fi drama “Babylon 5” and more recently penned such features as “Thor” and “Changeling.” He brought the “Sense8” project to Georgeville, where he is already working on a separate series, an untitled thriller for ABC and Overbrook Entertainment (Daily Variety, Aug. 28).

The plan is for the Wachowskis and Straczynski to share showrunner duties on “Sense8.” The siblings are expected to direct a few episodes, so long as their feature sked permits.

Pact with Wachowskis marks a coup for Georgeville, the newly formed production banner backed by the deep pockets of Reliance Entertainment. Producer Marc Rosen heads the venture in a partnership with Leon Clarance and Deepak Nayar of Reliance’s London-based Motion Picture Capital shingle. Georgeville opened its doors this spring and landed a 10-episode order from NBC for the midseason drama “Crossbones.”

“This project is near and dear to (the Wachowskis and Straczynski’s) heart. I’m so excited and honored that they felt comfortable bringing this to me,” Rosen told Variety. “This is the kind of project that our company was set up to produce — an idea so big in size and scale that it doesn’t make sense to try it as a pilot. The only way to let the filmmakers realize their vision on something like this is to do multiple episodes.”

At present Georgeville is gauging the interest of prospective buyers and will let some of them get a peek at the spec scripts that are in hand. The Wachowskis will be in L.A. next week for meetings on “Sense8.”

Straczynski launched Studio JMS in July. In addition to the two TV skeins, the company is in the midst of assembling financing for a WWII-era feature “The Flickering Light,” which Straczynski plans to direct in Berlin next year. It has two Web series in the works, including one for MTV.com, and four comicbooks set for release through Image Comics starting in the spring.

Based in Woodland Hills, Studio JMS is run by CEO Patricia Tallman, a former “Babylon 5” thesp who previously ran the casting showcase firm Talent to Go.

The Wachowskis are represented by WME and Circle of Confusion. Straczynski is with CAA.

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