Premium podcast company Luminary Media later this year will launch “Villains,” a 13-part show about the U.K.’s Great Train Robbery, under a multi-series pact with Mosaic Media’s new podcast production company, Ninth Planet Audio.
“Villains” is currently in production from executive producers Will Green and Aaron Ginsburg at The Cut, and Ben Adair at Western Sound. The show tells the story of a group of self-described British “villains” who pulled off the largest cash heist in Britain’s history in August 1963 — making off with a massive haul of £2.6 million in cash (worth around $67 million today) before 12 men identified as being involved in the heist were apprehended and jailed.
The podcast is hosted by Green (pictured above), an L.A.-based movie and TV producer whose credits with The Cut include “Vital Signs,” a scripted drama starring Dr. Dre for Apple, and two seasons of “Snatch” for Crackle.
Green said he grew up in London listening to stories of the Great Train Robbery because his own father mingled with some of the figures tied to the case, including famous gangster Freddie Foreman. For “Villains,” Green has conducted interviews with Foreman as well as with the wives and children of some of the participants in the historic caper.
Originally, Green said, he was thinking about pitching a TV show or movie documentary about the Great Train Robbery. He said the cost of producing 13 one-hour podcast episodes was roughly what it would cost to hire a scriptwriter for a feature-length project; eventually, the “Villains” podcast series could be adapted for television or film.
Producing a podcast show, though, is “a lot more work than I ever imagined,” Green said. “I never realized that talking so much was such hard work.”
“Villains” is the second show from Ninth Planet set to launch on Luminary. The first was nonfiction docuseries “Telephone Stories: The Trials of Michael Jackson,” a 13-part series which debuted in May and whose final seven episodes will be be released on Luminary starting July 28 on a weekly basis. Hosted by Brandon Ogborn and Omar Crook, the docuseries looks at the 1993 criminal investigation of sexual abuse by Michael Jackson and his criminal trial in 2005. Ogborn interviews Jackson’s attorneys and friends who defended him, the investigators and prosecutors who tried to convict him, along with journalists who covered the saga.
“Ninth Planet’s partnership with Luminary opened the door for Mosaic Media to further expand our portfolio and digital platform,” Mosaic principal Jimmy Miller said in a statement.
L.A.-based Mosaic Media is a management and production company representing clients including actors like Will Ferrell, Jessica Chastain, Tessa Thompson, and Kumail Nanjiani as well as writers and directors like Judd Apatow, Jay Roach and Barry Sonnenfeld. The company’s production arm has produced film and TV projects including “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Stepbrothers,” “Bad Teacher,” “Downward Dog” and “Weird City.”
Luminary’s premium podcast subscription service is $7.99 per month, with a lineup slated to include more than 40 shows and 1,000-plus hours of exclusive shows this year.