“Big Little Lies” director Jean-Marc Vallée and producing partner Nathan Ross have set a first-look deal with HBO Max and HBO, where the pair are shepherding the limited series “The Gorilla and the Bird.”
The three-year pact calls for Vallée and Ross to executive produce “Gorilla” through their Crazyrose banner. Vallée will direct the drama based on the memoir by Zack McDermott about a mother’s unconditional love for her bipolar adult son. The Crazyrose partners will also executive produce another HBO limited series, “The Players Table,” to be directed by Annabelle Attanasio.
“We’ve had the incredible fortune to collaborate with Jean-Marc and Nathan for several years now and have witnessed first-hand their brilliant instincts for what resonates with audiences,” said Francesca Orsi, HBO’s executive VP of programming. “As a director, Jean-Marc has an undeniable, distinct, and visceral sensibility which masterfully elevates everything he touches. We could not be more ecstatic to expand our partnership with Crazyrose.”
Crazyrose set up “Gorilla” in late 2018 as a project at HBO to be produced with Big Beach.
With Vallée and Ross settling in with HBO Max/HBO, the pair said they will extend their first-look agreement with Endeavor Content for film as well as establish a “second-look” agreement for TV. Endeavor Content is poised for a transition later this year as parent company Endeavor has to divest 80% of the production-distribution venture to comply with its legal settlement agreement with the Writers Guild of America. Crazyrose has set up the Natalie Portman-Lupita Nyong’o drama series “Lady in the Lake” with Endeavor Content at Apple.
Vallée vaulted into the HBO universe in 2017 with the success of “Big Little Lies,” the Reese Witherspoon-Nicole Kidman starrer that he directed. The series’ first season nabbed eight Primetime Emmy Awards, including nods for limited series and for limited series directing.
Vallée went on to executive produce and direct the 2018 HBO limited series “Sharp Objects” toplined by Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson. The director-producer and Ross hailed HBO and HBO Max programming leaders Casey Bloys, Francesca Orsi and Sarah Aubrey for their skill and support.
“We are honored to formalize our long and fruitful relationship with HBO and to begin a new one with HBO Max,” Vallée and Ross said. “We are grateful to Casey, Frannie and Sarah for their continued partnership and look forward to supporting and promoting storytellers we admire in this next stage for Crazyrose.”
On the film side, the Crazyrose partners produced the Vallée-directed 2013 drama “Dallas Buyers Club,” which earned Oscars for stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, and 2014’s “Wild,” which earned Oscar noms for Vallèe’s future “Big Little Lies” stars Witherspoon and Laura Dern.
Vallée and Ross are also shepherding a John Lennon-Yoko Ono biopic for Universal Pictures. The Crazyrose duo are represented by David Weber of Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.
(Pictured: Nathan Ross and Jean-Marc Vallée)