Hollywonk

Aug 27

Watch the Shows - Call the Shots

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We’re excited to unveil five highly-anticipated new pilots from some of the most talented and renowned writers, filmmakers and actors. For the next four weeks, it’s up to you to watch, rate and review them – helping to determine which ones get the greenlight to a full series.

You’ll be treated to a wide range of stories and voices: Whit Stillman’s romantic comedy The Cosmopolitans, about the glamorous life of expats in Paris, starring Adam Brody and Chloë Sevigny. The Steven Soderbergh-produced comedy Red Oaks, about the upstairs/downstairs life of a college student at a 1980s Jersey country club, starring Craig Roberts, Paul Reiser and Jennifer Grey. The mysterious and complex vigilante drama Hand of God from Ben Watkins, directed World War Z filmmaker Marc Forster, starring Ron Perlman and Dana Delany. The psychological thriller Hysteria, about an epidemic spread through social media, from Shaun Cassidy and starring Mena Suvari. And Jay Chandrasekhar’s comedic treatise on marriage, Really, about a group of couples clinging to their youth, starring Sarah Chalke and Selma Blair.

Check out the sizzle reel for all five pilots, then start watching and weighing in today — all free at AmazonOriginals.com.

And check back here, as Hollywonk will be spotlighting each pilot and going behind the scenes in the weeks ahead.

Aug 26

'Transparent' Premieres Sept. 26th - Watch the Just-Released Trailer

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It was the groundbreaking pilot that scored passionate reviews from viewers and critics alike back in February, earning a pickup to full series.  Just seven months later, all 10 episodes of the wry, dark comedy Transparent will debut September 26th on Prime Instant Video. For a sneak peek, check out the just-released trailer on YouTube.

Created by Sundance Directing Award winner Jill Soloway, the series stars Jeffrey Tambor as Maura, who has spent her life as Mort — the Pfefferman family patriarch.  When Maura reintroduces herself to her family, everyone spins in a different direction as they begin to figure out who they are.  This includes ex-wife Shelly (Judith Light) and their children — meandering Ali (Gaby Hoffman from Girls), music producer Josh (Jay Duplass), and sexually conflicted Sarah (Amy Landecker from Louie).

If you missed the pilot or want to see it again, you can get a head start and watch the first episode here.  And in the coming weeks, Hollywonk will be featuring insights from creator Jill Soloway about how she got her start, the issues her series raises, and her advice to other writers. 

Aug 19

Amazon Greenlights Five New Kids’ Series Pilots

A preschool whodunit. A hilarious friendship between dirty trucks.  An epic quest to defeat darkness.  An ousted crowd who navigates middle school cafeteria dynamics. And a trio who discover the power of magic.

These are the five kids’ stories Amazon Studios has ordered to pilot, officially announced today.  Early next year, all five will showcase their first episodes for viewer feedback on Amazon Instant Video. 

During the last kids’ pilot season, one of the highest-rated pilots was Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, which was created by pre-school teacher David Anaxagoras, a first-time writer who was discovered through Amazon Studios’ open-door submission process.  In November, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street will launch as a full series on Amazon Prime.

In a few months, viewers will have the chance to discover the next hit kids show.  “We’re very excited to be working with such talented creative minds to bring these five new pilots to life,” said Tara Sorensen, Head of Kids Programming at Amazon Studios.  “At Amazon, we’re focused on great characters and storytelling to create engaging programming for children.” 

So here they are, the five new pilot premises and the people behind them:

Buddy: Tech Detective (for preschool-aged children)
An interactive preschool whodunit that follows super-sleuth Buddy, his incredibly organized best friend Trudy, the funny furry ferret Ferdo and you, the smarty-pants viewer! Using a myriad of interactive technologies, Buddy and his team gather evidence, follow cues and crack the case. Written by Jennifer Hamburg (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why, Henry Hugglemonster), produced by The Foundation, a part of Zodiak Kids, and animated by Jellyfish Pictures.

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The Stinky & Dirty Show (for preschool-aged children)

The adventures and mishaps faced by best friends and unlikely heroes: Stinky the garbage truck and Dirty the backhoe loader. Whether it’s rescuing their pal Mighty the tugboat, or moving a giant boulder blocking the highway in their town of Go City, Stinky & Dirty are a dynamic duo of resourcefulness who make plenty of mistakes along the way. For them, hilariously failing turns out to be the most fun path to success.  The Stinky & Dirty Show is based on the “I Stink!” book series by Kate and Jim McMullan,and is written by Guy Toubes (The Adventures of Chuck & Friends, Littlest Pet Shop, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi) and animated by Brown Bag Films (Peter Rabbit, Octonauts, Doc McStuffins).

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Niko and the Sword of Light (for children ages 6-11)

The epic story of a 10-year-old named Niko who is the last of his kind in a strange, fantastical world. He must embark on a quest to defeat the darkness and bring the light back to his land. Armed with his magic sword, brave Niko journeys to the Cursed Volcano while making new friends and powerful foes along the way, all while revealing secrets about his mysterious past.  Based on the motion graphic comic by Imaginism Studios, the studio behind character and concept designs for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Men in Black 3.The pilot was written by Rob Hoegee (Generator Rex, League of Super Evil, Storm Hawks, Teen Titans) and animated by Titmouse (Motor City, Metalocalpyse, Turbo FAST, Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja).

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Table 58 (for children ages 6-11)
The live-action story of a group of kids who are not part of the popular crowd, and not part of the geek crowd.  The only thing they’re a part of is Table 58: the odd table in the lunchroom, made up of kids from all different cliques who have been ousted from the table where they seemingly belong. When new kid Logan moves to town, he rallies the group of six mismatched middle schoolers to form a tenuous partnership in order to help each other get back to their rightful place in the cafeteria. Written by May Chan (Phineas & Ferb, Bucket & Skinner’s Epic Adventures), Table 58 is a single-camera live-action pilot directed by Gil Junger (10 Things I Hate About You,Greek).

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Just Add Magic (for children ages 6-11)
The live-action story about Kelly Quinn and her two BFF’s, Darbie and Hannah, who stumble upon her grandmother’s mysterious cookbook in the attic and discover it has some interesting recipes. The Shut’em Up Shortcake actually silences Kelly’s pesky little brother, and when the Healing Hazelnut Tart quickly heals Darbie’s ankle, the girls discover they have the power of magic. Based on Cindy Callaghan’s young adult book of the same name and adapted by Joanna Lewis & Kristine Songco (Sullivan & Son, Fairly Odd Parents, My Little Pony) and Nancy Cohen (Sabrina, The Thundermans), directed by Joe Nussbaum (George Lucas in Love, Awkward). 

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Stay tuned for more details from behind-the-scenes as these pilots get cast and come to life. 

Aug 11

Time to Help Choose the Next Series: 5 New Pilots Premiere August 28th

Big news today: We’re excited to announce Amazon Studios’ third pilot season, beginning August 28th and featuring three half hour comedies The Cosmopolitans, Really and Red Oaks, and two hour-long dramatic thrillers Hand of God and Hysteria.  For one month, it will be up to you to watch, rate and comment – ultimately helping us decide which of them get the greenlight.

“There is something for everyone in this season,” says Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios.  The glamorous life of modern day expats in Paris. The hijinks of a summer job at a country club in 1980s New Jersey. The visions of a vigilante judge who appears to be channeling God.  The complexities of marriage and friendship among a circle of friends in suburban Chicago.  And the mysteries behind a psycho-physiological illness spreading through a small town in Texas. 

You can help choose which of these stories should get “picked up” to become shows. As part of our unique development process, Amazon Studios relies on feedback from viewers, which helps determine the shows that become an Amazon Original Series. In April, Amazon customers posted tens of thousands of comments during the second pilot season, which helped green light six soon-to-launch series, including Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch, The After, and kids series Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street and Wishenpoof!

So get ready to watch the five pilots from our third pilot season, which include the following stories:

The Cosmopolitans

Written, directed and produced by Academy Award nominee Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco), The Cosmopolitans follows a group of young American expatriates in contemporary Paris searching for love and friendship in a foreign city. The romantic comedy pilot stars Adam Brody as “Jimmy,” Chloë Sevigny as “Vicky,” Carrie MacLemore as “Aubrey,” Dree Hemingway as “Camille,” Freddy Åsblom as “Fritz,” Jordan Rountree as “Hal,” and Adriano Giannini as “Sandro.” The pilot was filmed on location in Paris.

Hand of God

Marking the television debut of renowned filmmaker Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland, World War Z) andwritten by Ben Watkins, Hand of God stars Golden Globe winner Ron Perlman in his first lead television role since Sons of Anarchy as “Judge Pernell Harris.” Hand of God also stars Dana Delany as the Judge’s protective wife “Crystal Harris,” Garret Dillahunt as “KD,” the born-again sociopath whose violent tendencies are exploited by Pernell, Andre Royo as the slick, smart, gregarious, and greedy mayor “Robert ‘Bobo’ Boston,” Alona Tal as Pernell’s grieving daughter-in-law “Jocelyn Harris,” Julian Morris as the questionable preacher “Paul Curtis,” Elizabeth McLaughlin as the preacher’s sultry girlfriend “Alicia,” and Emayatzy Corinealdi as Pernell’s call girl and confidante “Tessie.” The show centers on the powerful Judge Harris, a hard-living, law-bending married man with a high-end call girl on the side, who suffers a mental breakdown and goes on a vigilante quest to find the rapist who tore his family apart. With no real evidence to go on, Pernell begins to rely on “visions” and “messages” he believes are being sent by God through Pernell’s ventilator-bound son. Forster, Watkins, Perlman, Brian Wilkins and Jeff King are Executive Producers, and Jillian Kugler is co-Executive Producer.

Hysteria

Hysteria takes viewers to Austin, Texas where social connection has become contagious. In the pilot, members of a girls’ competitive dance team are stricken with a strange, psycho-physiological illness that manifests itself in violent fits and spasms and then begins spreading in the community through technology. Neurologist Logan Harlen (played by Mena Suvari) returns to her hometown to investigate the cause. Fighting her own demons and the growing manipulation of a brother on death row, Logan develops an uneasy suspicion that the hysteria surrounding the girls might actually be linked to social media and her own tragic past. Hysteria is written by Shaun Cassidy, who is known for genre thrillers such as Invasion and American Gothic, and directed by Otto Bathurst, who won the BAFTA Award for his work on the critically-acclaimed U.K. mini-series Peaky Blinders. The showalso stars James McDaniel (Orange Is The New Black) as “Carl Sapsi,” Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises) as “Ray Ratajeck,” Adan Canto (X-Men: Days of Future Past) as “Matt Sanchez,” Laura San Giacomo (Saving Grace)as “Grace Pelayo” and T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy) as “Carter Harlen.” The show is written by Cassidy, who is also Executive Producer alongside Adam Schroeder, Sharon Hall, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bryan Zuriff, and Bathurst. In addition to Suvari, McDaniel, Stewart, Canto, San Giacomo and Knight, Hysteria also stars Ella Rae Peck and Jenessa Grant. Pilot guest stars include Jason Douglas, Heather Kafka, Asjha Cooper, and Evie Thompson. Amazon Studios is collaborating with Universal Television and Alcon Television Group on the production of Hysteria.

Really

Written, directed and starring Jay Chandrasekhar, Really is a funny, extremely, honest behind-the-curtain look at the complexities of marriage and the charged dynamics of a tight-knit group of friends. The show is about four hard-charging suburban Chicago couples trying to grasp on-to their dwindling youth. At the center are the happily but messily married couple “Jed,” played by Chandrasekhar, and “Lori,” played by Sarah Chalke. When Jed is faced with the choice of keeping his pal’s secret or destroying his friend group, he winds up digging himself into a very deep hole. Really explores marriage, friendship and the stifling peculiarities of suburban Chicago life. The pilot also stars Selma Blair, Travis Schuldt, Hayes MacArthur, Collette Wolfe, Luka Jones, Lindsay Sloane and Rob Delaney. Really comes from Main Street Films' Craig Chang and Harrison Kordestani, and Executive Producer Jamie Tarses (Happy Endings).

Red Oaks

Directed by Sundance award-winner David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Eastbound and Down) and produced by Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh (Behind the Candelabra, Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven), Red Oaks stars Craig Roberts (Submarine)as “David Myers,” an assistant tennis pro at the Red Oaks Country Club in suburban New Jersey in 1985, who is both reeling from his father’s heart attack and conflicted about what major to declare in the fall. While there, he meets a colorful cast of misfit co-workers and wealthy club members including an alluring art student named “Skye” (played by guest star Alexandra Socha) and her corporate raider father “Getty” played by Paul Reiser (Mad About You). A coming-of-age comedy set in the “go-go” 80s that is equal parts hijinks and heartfelt, Red Oaks is about enjoying a last hurrah before summer comes to an end—and the future begins. Red Oaks also stars Jennifer Grey (It’s Like, You Know) as “Judy Myers,” Richard Kind (Luck) as “Sam Myers,” Oliver Cooper (Californication)as “Wheeler,” Gage Golightly as “Karen,” and Ennis Esmer as “Nash.” Red Oaks is written by Gregory Jacobs (The Knick)and Joe Gangemi (Eliza Graves). Soderbergh, Green, Jacobs, and Gangemi are Executive Producers.

The pilots can be viewed later this month with the Amazon Instant Video app available on Fire TV, Kindle Fire tablets, Fire phone, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, as well as hundreds of other connected devices such as smart TVs — or customers can visit Amazon.com/AIV to watch online.

Jul 25

Amazon’s Third Original Kids’ Series “Annedroids” Now Available on Prime Instant Video

Amazon today announced its third original kids’ series, Annedroids, is now available for unlimited streaming on Prime Instant Video at no additional cost to Prime members. Created by Emmy-nominated J.J. Johnson (Dino Dan) and Sinking Ship Entertainment, and aimed at children aged four through seven, Annedroids is a live-action adventure series about “Anne,”  a young female scientist, her human friends and their android assistants, and the amazing scientific discoveries they make while undertaking the biggest experiment of them all: growing up. The series spotlights, through trial and error, how science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM) can inspire children to do great things.

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Annedroids stars Addison Holley (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) as “Anne,” Adrianna Di Liello (Stage Fright) as her friend “Shania,” and Jadiel Dowlin as “Nick.” The series also features vocal talent from Millie Davis (Orphan Black) as “Pal.”

Amazon recently collaborated with the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) on a series of screenings and educational activities related to its original kids’ programming. Annedroids screening events will be held on August 9 at the Bay Area Discovery MuseumBoston Children’s MuseumBrooklyn Children’s Museum, and Children’s Museum of Houston.

Watch Annedroids now.