In the made-for-mobile-screens thriller, a smartphone has a central role. Sheridan (“Ready Player One,” “X-Men: Apocalypse”) plays a self-obsessed college student who is stranded in the Colorado mountains after he crashes his car — and his only hope of being rescued is his quickly dying phone. “Wireless” is billed as “a survival movie for the next generation about the lies we tell through our phones, and the lies our phones tell us.”
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The series is created and executive produced by filmmakers Jack Seidman and Zach Wechter, with executive producers Soderbergh, Michael Sugar, Cathy Konrad and Danny Sherman. Ben Silverman, Howard Owens and Greg Lipstone are executive producers for Propagate along with Isabel San Vargas, who is a producer. Wechter will direct the series, which begins production this week. Alpen Pictures’ Christian Heuer, Pickpockets’ Matt Pittman and Mike Glasz, Treeline Film, and Propagate are producing.
It’s the latest bet by Quibi, led by former DreamWorks Animation chief Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman, that original programming designed for a young-skewing mobile audience will catch fire. Quibi is slated to launch on April 6, 2020, priced at $5 monthly with ads and $8 monthly with no ads (the ad-free tier priced the same as Disney Plus).
According to Soderbergh, he brought the project to Quibi after he watched “Pocket,” a short film about a year in the life of an American teen seen through his iPhone camera, from Seidman, Wechter and Mishka Kornai.
“When I saw their short, ‘Pocket,’ I thought, ‘Could be fun to do something with these filmmakers,’ and when I talked to Jeffrey Katzenberg I thought, ‘Could be fun to do something with Quibi,'” Soderbergh said in a statement. “That my musings became a reality with ‘Wireless’ is surprising, exciting and further proof of my insane good fortune.”
“‘Wireless’ explores the personal relationship we all have with our devices, and brings life-and-death stakes to the choices we make in the digital world,” said Wechter. “We’ve been designing stories specifically to be viewed on phones with our mobile filmmaking collective Pickpocket, and I couldn’t be more excited to have partners as dedicated to experimenting in the form as we are in Quibi, and the rest of our incredible collaborators on this project.”
Sheridan, for his part, commented, “It’s a completely new way of storytelling, a format that is the first of its kind, and I truly believe that it will establish an important new language and pave the way for many more like it in the future.”
Sheridan is repped by WME, Mosaic and Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher. Wechter is represented by UTA and Thruline Entertainment, and Seidman is represented by Thruline Entertainment.
Quibi has raised $1 billion from investors including major Hollywood studios and is seeking to raise another $500 million to keep it going until it reaches the break-even point.
The company has announced a slew of partnerships and content deals. Those include pacts for a Russo Brothers docu-series about the Marvel-DC rivalry; a horror anthology series starring Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”); a practical-joke show hosted by Cara Delevingne; a remake of “The Fugitive” starring Kiefer Sutherland; a comedy series featuring Trevor Noah; and “After Dark,” a horror series from Steven Spielberg that subscribers will be able to watch only between sundown and sunrise local time.
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