“Crash,” a new original drama series based on the Academy Award®-winning Best Picture will debut exclusively on Starz in 2008. The 13-episode, one-hour series, co-produced with Lionsgate, will be Starz’s first ever original drama. The announcement was made today by Stephan Shelanski, executive vice president, programming of Starz Entertainment.
Key members of the Oscar-winning theatrical production team are onboard for the series, including the film’s director, co-writer and producer Paul Haggis, co-writer and producer Bobby Moresco, producer Bob Yari, producer Don Cheadle, producer Mark R. Harris and executive producer Tom Nunan.
Crash, which was distributed by Lionsgate, marks only the second time a Best Picture Oscar®-winner has been turned into a series. In the Heat of the Night was the first. Production on the drama is scheduled to begin in the spring.
“‘Crash’ introduced a whole range of fascinating characters and engrossing, intertwined stories that are ideally suited for developing into a TV series,” commented Shelanski. “Starz is the premium channel for movies so it’s appropriate that this Best Picture-winner is providing the basis for our first dramatic series. The fact that key members of the film’s production team are involved will ensure that our series maintains the high level of talent and creativity captured in the film.”
“An important part of our strategy is to create franchises across our company’s divisions,” said Kevin Beggs, Lionsgate’s President of Programming and Production, “and early in our involvement with this extraordinary film, we recognized its enormous potential to be successfully adapted for television. In Starz, we have found partners who share our vision and we anticipate a great collaboration.”
“I’m very happy that Lionsgate and Starz have decided to develop ‘Crash’ into a series,” said Haggis. “Ironically, my initial impulse was to present the material in a format for television. I am thrilled it’s coming full circle and can’t wait to see how it expands and transforms.”
“For me, exploring the characters and conflicts in ‘Crash’ was a great experience,” said Moresco. “The idea of doing it again in a weekly series is tremendously exciting.”
“This series will present an opportunity to delve into many subjects, not just race relations in LA,” said Cheadle. “I don’t think you can do 13 episodes on that subject and keep people interested. The challenge will be to craft the series characters in such a way as to get beneath the skin that supposedly differentiates them and create entertaining story lines that show the hurdles and obstacles we all struggle to overcome day to day.”
Challenging and daring, Crash took a provocative, unflinching look at the complexities of racial tolerance in contemporary America. The film featured an all-star cast including Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Thandie Newton and Ryan Philippe. It was directed by Haggis and co-written by Haggis and Moresco.
In addition to Best Picture, it also scored Oscars® for Haggis and Moresco’s original screenplay, as well as Hughes Winborne’s editing. Crash also earned a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture, a Producers Guild nomination for Best Picture, a Directors Guild feature film nomination for Haggis, a Writers Guild nomination for Best Original Screenplay (Haggis and Moresco), nine BAFTA nominations (including Best Film and Best Director) and six NAACP Image Award nominations (including Best Film).
Starz Media’s Anchor Bay Entertainment will hold exclusive U.S. distribution rights, including home entertainment, to the “Crash” series, while Lionsgate will retain international distribution.
The announcement of Crash comes on the heels of the launch of Starz’ first two original half-hour comedy series, “Head Case” and “Hollywood Residential,” which premiered last week. “Head Case,” stars Alexandra Wentworth and the new comedy series “Hollywood Residential,” stars Adam Paul and is executive produced by Cheryl Hines. Starz also features “Starz Inside,” a new monthly series of original specials examining people, trends and culture in movie entertainment hosted by film critic Richard Roeper.