American TV seems intent on hiring some of the biggest names in filmmaking to create shorter-run series and lure viewers in. The latest channel across the pond to score such talent is FX, which is following up its Fargo adaptation with Telemark, a World War II miniseries from 127 Hours team Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy.
The Slumdog Millionaire writer has penned the 10-part series, which is based on the true story of British-trained Norwegian resistance fighters who sabotaged Hitler’s attempt to develop atomic weapons. "As we all know, some of the very best narrative fiction ever told is currently being created as episodic television," Beaufoy tells The Hollywood Reporter. "This incredible story is ideally suited to the slower burn and added complexity that the longer format allows, and I can't wait to get my teeth into this."
If you're getting deja vu right about now, that's because the news broke on Friday that Michael Bay is also planning to produce the Telemark story in a film called Sabotage. We imagine it's the slow burn and complexity that attracted Bay as well.
So far, Boyle is only attached as an executive producer alongside regular partner Christian Coulson, but there’s a chance he could direct at least one episode of the show – though he may just follow Steven Spielberg’s model with Band Of Brothers and The Pacific and remain as an overseer.
He's also going to be busy with another TV project, as he's set to direct the pilot for a new police comedy drama, Babylon for Channel 4. The show - which has an order for a six-episode first series beyond the pilot - finds The East's Brit Marling as a hotshot US PR person drafted in to help clean up the Met's public image. James Nesbitt will be the police chief, with Paterson Joseph, Jill Halfpenny, Adam Deacon, Daniel Kaluuya, Jonny Sweet, Andrew Brooke and Bertie Carvel all aboard, working from a script by Peep Show duo Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong.
There’s no word on when Telemark will be on screens, but it appears FX is looking at having it ready for 2015. Babylon, meanwhile, is scheduled to shoot soon for an early 2014 air date.