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.