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by TV News Desk
Syfy has finalized a deal to adapt Philip K. Dick's Hugo Award-winning novel THE MAN IN THE HIGH Castle into a 4-hour miniseries event with Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files, Hunted) attached to write and serve as Executive Producer, it was announced today by Mark Stern, President of Original Content, Syfy and Co-Head Original Content, Universal Cable Productions. Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions will produce the project with Headline Pictures, Electric ShepheRD Productions and FremantleMedia International. Spotnitz will write the first two hours and supervise the writing of the second two hours (writer TBA).
Producers Ridley Scott and Stewart Mackinnon bring us a startling depiction of an alternate history as imagined by author Philip K. Dick in his best-selling novel; a world in which Nazi Germany and Japan were Victorious in World War II. The year is 1962 and the Axis Powers occupy the United States, where fascism rules and the few surviving Jews hide under assumed names.
"Alternate history stories are part of an amazing and intricate genre of sci-fi," said Mark Stern President of Original Content, Syfy and Co-Head, Original Content, Universal Cable Productions. "When done well, there's nothing better; and I can't think of better creative talent to bring Philip K. Dick's fascinating alternate-history thriller to life than Ridley Scott and Frank Spotnitz."
"Ridley Scott is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers and this is one of my all-time favorite books," added Spotnitz, "so I am incredibly honored and thrilled to have this opportunity."
"The Man in The High Castle is one of Dick's most imaginative and captivating works and certainly one of my favorites. I am pleased to team up with the singular Frank Spotnitz and Syfy, Headline Pictures, Electric Shepherd and FremantleMedia International to bring this Epic to audiences who will find this story as intriguing and riveting as we do." said Ridley Scott.
Stewart Mackinnon of Headline Pictures commented, "Philip K. Dick's classic thriller asks us all to consider what we would do if our world was turned upside down and everything we value is lost. It's a chilling story that explores our universal hopes and fears."
"The Man in the High Castle is one of the most highly-regarded and influential novels my father wrote. It's thrilling to be bringing it to life with such a talented, passionate team, and in a format that can do justice to the full scope of the material," said Isa Dick Hackett, founder of Electric ShepheRD Productions along with her sister Laura Leslie.
FremantleMedia International will distribute the series globally and this project is the latest in a series of drama development news coming from the global production and distribution company whose drama investment activity is ramping up. In addition to The Man in The High Castle, FremantleMedia International is working with Headline Pictures, Scott Free Productions and Mark Sennett Entertainment to develop The Drivers. It has also recently announced partnerships with renowned writer / producer Marshall Herskovitz to oversee development of the popular non-fiction book Hitlerland; and the adaptation of the New York Times bestseller The Maid with Pukeko Pictures and award-winning writer Craig Pearce.
David Ellender, CEO FremantleMedia International and Kids & Family Entertainment, said, "When we launched our drama initiative we did so with the goal of bringing together the best producers, writers and broadcasters in the world to create the highest quality and most compelling dramas for global audiences. The Man in the High Castle is exactly this and we look forward to bringing it to screens in the US and beyond."
Dick's works have been the basis for blockbuster movies such as the Ridley Scott directed, Blade Runner (1982) a remake of which is in the works, as well two versions of Total Recall (1990) and (2012), Minority Report (1992) and Adjustment Bureau (2011). King of the Elves is currently in development at Walt Disney Animation. One of the most celebrated authors of the last century, Philip K Dick was published in the Library of America in 2007 and has received literary recognition unprecedented for a contemporary science fiction writer. His more than 40 novels and 125 short stories have been translated into 25 languages.
Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 98 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)
ABOUT SCOTT FREE PRODUCTIONS
Scott Free Productions was formed in 1995 and is the film and television production vehicle of acclaimed film directors: brothers Ridley and Tony Scott. Scott Free Television produces the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated, Peabody acclaimed drama, The Good Wife for CBS which is currently enjoying its fourth season, and the eight-hour adaptation of World Without End, Ken Follett's international best-seller featuring Cynthia Nixon, Ben Chaplin and Miranda Richardson on Reelz. Scott Free also produced the recent four-hour adaptation of Robin Cook's Coma for A&E, starring Geena Davis, James Woods, Richard Dreyfuss and Ellen Burstyn, the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated mini-series The Pillars of The Earth for Starz, the hit CBS show NUMB3RS, which ran for six seasons, the Emmy-nominated mini-series The Andromeda Strain, starring Benjamin Bratt and Viola Davis, also for A&E, as well as the Golden Globe nominated The Company for TNT featuring Michael Keaton and Alfred Molina.
Productions in prep for 2013 include the film event Reykjavik, starring Michael Douglas as Ronald Reagan and Christoph Waltz as Mikhail Gorbachev, about the historic meeting between the two leaders which instigated the end of the Cold War; Klondike, Discovery Channel's first ever scripted mini-series, based on Charlotte Gray's book, about six strangers' fight for survival and wealth in a small, frontier boom town; and, for Showtime, The Vatican from Oscar nominated writer Paul Attanasio, a modern-day political thriller, with Ridley Scott at the helm of his first-ever television pilot.
In addition to scripted fare, Scott Free has firmly established its nonfiction presence by producing the Epic Emmy-winning documentary Gettysburg for History Channel, and the upcoming documentary Killing Lincoln, and Killing Kennedy for National Geographic Channel.
Scott Free has offices in Los Angeles and London in conjunction with RSA Films, one of the world's largest and most successful commercial production houses.
Headline Pictures develops and produces television drama and feature films for the international market. Dustin Hoffman's Quartet is currently on release, written by Ronnie Harwood, and starring Dame Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Michael Gambon; Ralph Fiennes' Invisible Woman is in post, written by Abi Morgan and starring Ralph Fiennes, FeliciTy Jones and Kristin Scott Thomas; Reykjavik, the true story of a pivotal summit which ended the Cold War, helmed by Mike Newell and starring Michael Douglas and Christoph Waltz, is in prep for 2013. On the television side Headline is producing a number of large-scale drama series including The Drivers, written by Tudors creator Michael Hirst, a returning series in association with Microsoft and a drama series with ZDF based on the award-winning novels by crime writer Martin Cruz Smith. Headline's adaptation of Stephen King's Bag of Bones starred Pierce Brosnan and premiered in the US on A&E Networks in December 2011.
ABOUT ELECTRIC ShepheRD Productions. LLC
Electric ShepheRD Productions, LLC was founded by Laura Leslie and Isa Dick Hackett, daughters of the late science fiction author Philip K Dick. ESP is the production arm of the Dick Estate, dedicated to the stewardship and adaptation of the Philip K. Dick library across all media. Along with their brother Christopher Dick, the daughters have managed the library since Dick's death in 1982. ESP is currently in development on several other projects based on the works of Philip K. Dick, including the Disney animated feature KING OF THE ELVES, the live action feature based on the novel UBIK, to be directed by Michel Gondry, and produced in collaboration with Anonymous Content and the live action feature Electric Ant, to be directed by Marc Forster.
FremantleMedia is one of the leading creators, producers and distributors of television entertainment brands in the world. FremantleMedia is part of RTL Group, the leading European entertainment network, which is in turn 92 percent owned by the international media company Bertelsmann. FremantleMedia is responsible for many of the world's highest rated prime time entertainment, drama, serial drama, factual entertainment and kids & family programming, with market leading capabilities that extend from content creation to licensing, digital and branded entertainment, gaming and home entertainment. The FremantleMedia Group (which includes FremantleMedia North America, UFA, FremantleMedia UK, FremantleMedia Australia, Ludia, @radical.media and Original Productions, among others) has one of the most comprehensive global networks with operations in 22 countries, creating over 9,200 hours of programming a year, rolling out more than 60 formats and managing over 300 individual titles. The company also distributes more than 20,000 hours of content in over 150 countries. FremantleMedia has some of the world's most sought after and long running formats in its catalogue, and globally produces such programmes as: Idols (co-produced with 19 Productions in the US), Hole In The Wall, Got Talent (co-produced with Syco in the UK and the US), The X Factor (co-produced with Syco in the UK and the US), Take Me Out, Family Feud, The Price is Right, Farmer Wants A Wife, Gute Zeiten Schlechte Zeiten, and Neighbours.