5 years ago, HBO ordered a full series of Utopia. They were keen, with Mindhunter‘s David Fincher involved, to get a US remake of Channel 4’s cancelled-before-its-prime drama series up and running. In another universe, the American version of Utopia might have aired alongside other big HBO players like Game Of Thrones at the cable giant, but…it wasn’t to be – things fell apart, Fincher abandoned the idea, and the project seemed to die a death.
Now, Amazon is pressing ahead with a nine-episode first season of Utopia, with Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn pulling the strings, and it looks like we might finally get some resolution to the story, which was left hanging on Channel 4 all those years ago, after two short series of Dennis Kelly’s creation.
Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day) will be a series regular, playing Samantha. Deadline says of her character:
“Extremely idealistic, sharp-witted and a natural-born leader, Samantha earnestly believes in changing the world through action and scoffs at cheap rhetoric about progress. She could school any comic book nerd about the graphic novel Utopia and is embarking on a mission to uncover its secrets.”
John Cusack will be Dr. Kevin Christie – “charismatic and media-savvy, with a brilliant biotech mind and a philanthropic outlook. Christie altruistically wants to change the world through science.”
Rainn Wilson also features as Michael Stearns, “once a promising virologist, Michael is now a forgotten scientist who’s lost his edge—under-appreciated and underfunded in his laboratory work. When a nationwide outbreak of a deadly flu arises, Michael offers his expertise, and soon finds he has landed smack in the middle of something much bigger.”
Snagging the lead role is Sasha Lane (American Honey). She’ll be Jessica Hyde, “tough and feral after a life on the run from a mysterious and dangerous group, Jessica believes all the answers about her perplexing life story may be hidden in the graphic novel Utopia.”
Directing the series is Toby Haynes (Doctor Who, Sherlock, Being Human, Black Mirror).
All sounds a bit good, dunnit?
The US remake of Utopia will still be based on the UK series, and as such, the story will likely revolve around a group of young-ish people who are hunted by a shadowy organisation after they manage to get hold of a once-thought-mythical graphic novel which details all manner of conspiracies that turn out to be disturbingly true.
“We are huge fans of Gillian Flynn’s electrifying work,” said Nick Hall, Head of Alternative Series for Amazon Studios, in a statement about the new effort to revive the series. “She crafts stories that hold her audience in a constant state of suspense and subverts the expectations behind her characters. She will deliver Prime Video members a series they won’t forget, and Utopia’s relevance is sure to connect with viewers around the globe.”
Utopia‘s new showrunner Flynn had this to say:
“Utopia is pure creative catnip to me. Dennis Kelly’s show blew my mind, and he has been so incredibly generous in letting me crack open his world and play around in it and make it my own weird, wild place. Utopia is all about exploring resonant issues within dark, twisted storytelling—it’s a series that’s urgent and current and a little holy-crap!, but a hell of a lot of a fun.”
Utopia release date
An air date has not yet been set, but we’ll keep you posted.