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HBO Max Orders ‘DMZ’ Pilot, Ava DuVernay to Direct

Ava DuVernay is expanding her DC universe.

The director, who is already set to helm the DC superhero feature “New Gods,” has signed on to direct a pilot based on the “DMZ” comic series which has been ordered at HBO Max.

The prospective series hails from showrunner and executive producer Roberto Patino, and is described a futuristic drama set in an American civil war. Filming on the Warner Bros. Television pilot is set to begin in early 2020.

In the near future, the aforementioned civil war leaves Manhattan a demilitarized zone (DMZ), destroyed and isolated from the rest of the world. “DMZ” chronicles the journey of a female medic who saves lives while desperately searching for her lost son. She has to contend with the gangs, militias, demagogues and warlords that control the lawless no man’s land.

DuVernay’s involvement in the project is no surprise given her multi-year deal with WBTV, which she signed back in Nov. 2018. Her most recent TV venture, the Netflix limited series “When They See Us,” carried home two Emmys. She also has an anthology series titled “Cherish the Day” in the works at OWN, as Variety reported exclusively. 

Patino, who also has an overall deal with WBTV, is best known for his writing on the NBC series “Prime Suspect,” the FX show “Sons of Anarchy,” and HBO’s mind-bending sci-fi-western series “Westworld.”

The pilot is produced by DuVernay’s Array Filmworks, in association with Warner Bros. Television.

News of the pilot comes as the nascent streamer ramps up its development game. Among HBO Max’s other drama projects are a trio of pilots ordered back in August, including a “Rules of Magic” adaptation, a Lena Dunham high school project, and YA morality and psychological horror series executive produced by John Wells. On the comedy pilot side, the platform has “Delilah” with Jessica Rothe in the title role.

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