HBO is making The Franchise, a parody series taking us behind the scenes of a troubled and fictional superhero movie.
The television crossover you’ve been waiting for is finally happening, though not in the way you’d expect. HBO is green-lighting The Franchise, a half-hour comedy series taking us behind the scenes of a fictional struggling superhero movie. Aiming at makers of superhero cinema like DC Studios and Marvel Studios, The Franchise explores the concept of superhero fatigue through comedy and the arduous task of creating in the contentious superhero space.
Here’s the official description of The Franchise: “The crew of an unloved franchise movie fight for their place in a savage and unruly cinematic universe. The Franchise shines a light on the secret chaos inside the world of superhero moviemaking, to ask the question — how exactly does the cinematic sausage get made? Because every f*ck-up has an origin story.”
Himesh Patel (Yesterday) and Aya Cash (You’re the Worst) star in The Franchise, with Jessica Hynes, Billy Magnussen, Lolly Adefope, Darren Goldstein, Isaac Powell, Richard E. Grant, and Daniel Brühl. The project hails from Sam Mendes (Skyfall) alongside Armando Iannucci (Veep) and showrunner Jon Brown (Succession, Veep).
“With a deft touch only he can bring, Sam has brilliantly captured the romance and the reality of filmmaking today,” said Amy Gravitt, executive vp of HBO Programming. “Jon is superb at sending up worlds we think we already know. Together, with Armando, they have delivered a truly hilarious comedy ensemble. I can’t wait to see more.”
Work on The Franchise began before the SAG-AFTRA strike began. However, the production of the series will resume once negotiations conclude.
Executive producing The Franchise are Mendes, Pippa Harris, Nicolas Brown, and Julie Pastor for Neal Street Productions; Iannucci for Dundee Productions; Brown and Jim Kleverweis. Mendes directs the pilot, written by Brown, who also serves as showrunner.
Making movies is always challenging. Apply that same sentiment to superhero cinema, and you have a recipe for disaster. Anything and everything can go wrong and usually does. Add fan demand, casting changes, rewrites, reshoots, and marketing missteps to the mix, and it’s a wonder anything ever comes to fruition.
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