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John Woo to Produce TV Series ‘Cognition’ with Catalyst

CANNES — John Woo, whose credits include “Mission Impossible II” and “Face/Off,” is to produce a original scripted television series titled “Cognition” in partnership with Catalyst Global Media, the television and film production company led by Charlotte Walls and Al Hardiman.

The show is a neo-noir crime thriller covering two serial killer investigations set in two very stylistically contrasting worlds — the vast and desolate lands of America’s declining mid-West, and the thriving and overpopulated streets of the Far East.

The series is centered around Travis Augustine, an American ex-detective who has travelled to the Far East for a cutting-edge, untested medical procedure to cure his cancer. The theory: trauma manifests itself into illness. The cure: delete the memories associated with the trauma. As Travis recounts the memories from a failed all-consuming 10-year serial killer investigation as part of his treatment, copycat crimes start to take place on the streets of an Asian metropolis, and Travis finds himself pulled back in to the vicious cycle he’s trying to escape.

The show has been created by Alex Garcia Lopez, director of cult British TV drama series “Utopia” and “Misfits.” He is writing and will direct the series, which begins production next year. Woo will executive produce the series, which comprises eight one-hour episodes, alongside his long-term producing partner Terence Chang and Lori Tilkin.

Walls, Catalyst co-founder and CEO, initiated development on the project as its originating producer and brought on board Woo and his producers as production partners. Catalyst is headquartered in London while Woo operates from offices in Los Angeles and Beijing. Catalyst’s Graham Begg brokered the deal with Tilkin and Chang.

Walls said: “John Woo’s films have grossed over $1 billion to date. His provocatively stylish, masterful and hugely commercial approach is in perfect alignment with Catalyst’s agenda to deliver high-end mainstream TV series and films to the global marketplace.”

Catalyst has been busy since launching in May. It recently formed a partnership with Warner Music to develop a slate of feature film biopics and documentaries based on the music label’s artists. Catalyst will develop and finance the projects, and oversee worldwide distribution.

On the production side, Catalyst most recently executive produced TV series “Peter & Wendy,” based on the novel “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie, written by Adrian Hodges (“My Week With Marilyn”) and starring Stanley Tucci and Paloma Faith. The series is being introduced to worldwide distributors at Mipcom.

Additional projects underway at Catalyst include the sci-fi thriller “Genus,” which is being adapted by Mike Carey (“She Who Brings Gifts”). Based on the novel by Jonathan Trigell (writer of the film “Boy A”), “Genus” is a sci-fi thriller set in a bleak and dangerous future of genetic selection.

Catalyst also has a feature adaptation of the novel “Pomegranate Soup” by the late Iranian novelist Marsha Mehran, being adapted by writer Kirsten Sheridan (“August Rush”), who is also attached to direct.

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