Amazon Studios this fall will debut six pilots — including comedies from Louis C.K. and Sacha Baron Cohen — from which it will select shows to greenlight as full series.
The new half-hour pilots premiering later this year are: “Highston” from Bob Nelson (Nebraska), directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) and executive producer Sacha Baron Cohen (The Dictator); “One Mississippi” from exec producers Louis C.K. (“Louie”), Tig Notaro (“Boyish Girl Interrupted”), Diablo Cody (“Juno”) and exec producer/director Nicole Holofcener (“Enough Said”); and “Z” from Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin (“The Killing”), produced by Pam Koffler and Christine Vachon (“Still Alice”) and directed by Tim Blake Nelson (“Anesthesia”).
Amazon’s three hour-long drama pilots will include “Edge” from Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon,” “Iron Man 3”) and Fred Dekker (“Tales from the Crypt,” “Star Trek: Enterprise”); “Good Girls Revolt,” written by Dana Calvo (“Made in Jersey”); and “Patriot” (working title) from Steven Conrad (“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “The Weather Man”).
Actors starring in the pilots include Christina Ricci in “Z” as Zelda Fitzgerald (pictured above), Anna Camp (whose credits include “Pitch Perfect”), Flea (“The Big Lebowski”), Ryan Kwanten (“True Blood”), Shaquille O’Neal (“Blended”), Terry O’Quinn (“Lost”), Chris Parnell (“Saturday Night Live”), Mary Lynn Rajskub (“24”) and David Strathairn (“Good Night, and Good Luck,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”).
The shows will be free for anyone to watch on Amazon Video in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Austria. Amazon execs will incorporate ratings and comments from users in deciding which ones to turn into full series, available only to Prime subscribers.
“We have something for everyone in this season and I am excited to see which shows spark conversation amongst our customers and what they want to be made into series,” said Roy Price, VP of Amazon Studios.
Amazon’s “Transparent” won five Primetime Emmy awards this past Sunday, including Jeffrey Tambor for lead actor in a comedy and series creator Jill Soloway for directing.
Here’s a rundown of the six new pilots:
- “Highston”: Highston Liggetts (newcomer Lewis Pullman) is a 19-year-old with a wide circle of celebrity friends — whom only he can see. His parents, Jean (Mary Lynn Rajskub, “24”), and Wilbur (Chris Parnell, “SNL”) force him to get psychiatric help but his Uncle Billy (Curtis Armstrong, “American Dad!”) thinks he’s just fine. Pilot guest-stars Shaquille O’Neal (“Thunderstruck”) and Flea and is written by Oscar nominee Bob Nelson (“Nebraska”), directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (“Little Miss Sunshine”), and exec produced by Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Dictator”), Todd Hoffman (“Love Stinks”), Nelson and Todd Schulman (Bruno).
- “One Mississippi”: Dark comedy starring comedian Tig Notaro — in a story loosely based on her life — follows her as she deals with the complex reentry into her childhood hometown of Bay Saint Lucille, Miss., to deal with the unexpected death of her mother. Cast includes Noah Harpster (“Transparent”), John Rothman (“The Devil Wears Prada”) and Casey Wilson (“Gone Girl”) as Tig’s girlfriend, Brooke. Co-production with FX Prods. is written and executive produced by Notaro and Diablo Cody (“Juno”), executive produced by Louis C.K., Blair Breard (“Louie”) and Dave Becky (“Everybody Hates Chris”), with pilot directed and exec produced by Nicole Holofcener (“Enough Said”).
- “Z”: Based on the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, played by Christina Ricci (“Monster”). The story starts before the brilliant, beautiful and talented Southern Belle meets then-unpublished writer F. Scott Fitzgerald (Gavin Stenhouse, “Allegiance”) and moves through their turbulent love affair and their marriage. “Z” is written by Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin (“The Killing”), directed by Tim Blake Nelson (“Anesthesia”), and executive produced by Ricci, Pamela Koffler (“Still Alice”) and Christine Vachon (“One Hour Photo”) of Killer Films. Show guest stars David Strathairn, Kristine Nielsen (“Savages”), Maya Kazan (“The Knick”), Sarah Schenkkan (“30 Rock”), Jamie Anne Allman (“The Killing”) and Holly Curran (“Alpha House”).
- “Edge”: Drama based on George G. Gilman’s best-selling book series of the same name, which has been described as “the most violent Western in print,” is set in 1868 where Max Martini (“Pacific Rim,” “Captain Phillips”) plays a Union officer turned cowboy who prowls the post-Civil War West doling out his own savage brand of justice. Also stars Ryan Kwanten (“True Blood”) and Yvonne Strahovski (“The Astronaut Wives Club,” “Chuck”). Developed and scripted by Shane Black and Fred Dekker (“Tales from the Crypt,” “Star Trek: Enterprise”), “Edge” is directed by Black and exec produced by Black, Dekker, Barry Josephson (“Bones,” “Turn: Washington Spies”) and David Greenblatt (“Battle Los Angeles”).
- “Good Girls Revolt”: Drama set in 1969 follows a group of young female researchers at “News of the Week,” who simply ask to be treated fairly, based on Lynn Povich’s book “The Good Girls Revolt” chronicling sexual-discrimination cases of the era. Stars Genevieve Angelson (“Backstrom”), Anna Camp (“Pitch Perfect”), Erin Darke (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”), Chris Diamantopoulos (“Silicon Valley”), Hunter Parrish (“Weeds”), Jim Belushi (“Show Me a Hero”), Joy Bryant (“Parenthood”) and Grace Gummer as journalist Nora Ephron. The pilot, a co-production with TriStar Television, is written and created by Dana Calvo (“Made in Jersey”), directed by Liza Johnson (“Return”), and exec produced by Calvo, Lynda Obst (“Interstellar”), Darlene Hunt (“The Big C”), Don Kurt (“Justified”) and Jeff Okin (“Dark Skies”).
- “Patriot”: Political thriller follows the complicated life of intelligence officer John Tavner (Australian newcomer Michael Dorman, “Wonderland”), whose latest assignment is to prevent Iran from going nuclear. Pilot also stars Terry O’Quinn (“Lost”), Michael Chernus (“Manhattan Project”), Kathleen Munroe (“Call Me Fitz”), Aliette Opheim (“Sandor slash Ida”) and Kurtwood Smith (“That ’70s Show”). Written and directed by Steven Conrad and executive produced by Conrad, Gil Bellows (“Temple Grandin”), Glen Ficarra (“Crazy Stupid Love,” “Focus”), Charlie Gogolak (“Focus”) and John Requa (“Crazy Stupid Love,” “Focus”).