×

‘Utopia’ Lands Series Order at Amazon, Creator Gillian Flynn Inks Overall Deal at Studio

The long-gestating American adaptation of “Utopia” has been ordered to series at AmazonVariety has learned.

In addition, series creator Gillian Flynn has inked an overall deal with Amazon Studios, with “Utopia” being the first project under that deal. Based on the British series of the same name created by Dennis Kelly, “Utopia” follows group of young adults who meet online and are mercilessly hunted by a shadowy deep state organization after they come in to possession of a near mythical cult underground graphic novel. They discover the conspiracy theories in the comic’s pages may actually be real and are forced in to the dangerous, unique and ironic position of saving the world.

Amazon has ordered a nine-episode first season. The original series aired two six-episode seasons on Britain’s Channel 4 between 2013 and 2014.

“’Utopia’ is pure creative catnip to me,” Flynn said. “Dennis Kelly’s show blew my mind, and he has been so incredibly generous in letting me crack open his world and play around in it and make it my own weird, wild place. ‘Utopia’ is all about exploring resonant issues within dark, twisted storytelling—it’s a series that’s urgent and current and a little holy-crap!, but a hell of a lot of a fun.”

Flynn is best known for writing the novel “Gone Girl” as well as the screenplay for the blockbuster film adaptation of the same name. Her novel “Sharp Objects” is also being adapted as an HBO miniseries by Marti Noxon with Amy Adams set to star.

She first became attached to “Utopia” in 2014 when it was set up at HBO with “Gone Girl” director David Fincher set to direct and executive produce. But the series stalled in 2015 when Fincher and HBO were reportedly unable to come to terms on the show’s budget. That will likely be less of a problem with Amazon, as the streamer has undergone a major programming shift in recent months. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has called for the streaming service to develop large-scale dramas with global appeal, such as the upcoming “Lord of the Rings” television adaptation.

The series is a co-production between Endemol Shine North America and Kudos, an Endemol Shine Group UK production studio, and Amazon Studios. Flynn will serve as executive producer and showrunner with Kelly also set to executive produce. Jessica Rhoades, who collaborated with Flynn on “Sharp Objects,” will also executive produce along with Sharon Hall, Karen Wilson, and Diederick Santer. Sharon Levy, president of unscripted and scripted television for Endemol Shine North America, will oversee production for Endemol Shine. Levy is said to have been instrumental in reviving the project, taking it to Amazon shortly after she joined Endemol Shine back in August and helping negotiate with Amazon and Kudos.

“We are huge fans of Gillian Flynn’s electrifying work,” said Nick Hall, head of alternative series for Amazon Studios. “She crafts stories that hold her audience in a constant state of suspense and subverts the expectations behind her characters. She will deliver Prime Video members a series they won’t forget, and ‘Utopia’s’ relevance is sure to connect with viewers around the globe.”

Flynn is repped by WME.

More TV

  • Friends reunion

    'Friends' Cast to Reunite for Exclusive HBO Max Special

    It’s happening: The “Friends” cast is reuniting for an exclusive untitled unscripted special on HBO Max. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer will return to the original “Friends” soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank to celebrate the long-running series, which ended its run [...]

  • Regina King Watchmen

    HBO Reclassifies 'Watchmen' as a Limited Series, Including 'Possible Future Installments'

    In the ongoing saga of whether HBO’s “Watchmen” will continue after its initial, acclaimed season late last year, the pay cable network announced on Friday that it is reclassifying the show from a drama series to a limited series, including for “any possible future installments.” The move aligns HBO’s awards season campaign for “Watchmen” with [...]

  • Tubi

    Fox in Talks to Acquire Free-Streaming Service Tubi for Over $500 Million (Report)

    Fox Corp. is in discussions about acquiring Tubi, the ad-supported free streaming service, in a deal worth more than $500 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing anonymous sources. With Tubi, Rupert Murdoch’s TV broadcasting and cable company would be adding a dedicated streaming component — offering over 20,000 older TV shows and [...]

  • Priah Ferguson

    'Stranger Things' Ups Priah Ferguson to Series Regular for Season 4 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Priah Ferguson has been promoted to series regular on the upcoming fourth season of “Stranger Things,” Variety has learned exclusively from sources. Ferguson began on the Netflix show as a guest star, appearing in four episodes of the second season, before moving up to a recurring role in Season 3. She has received critical praise [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content