Amazon Studios is moving forward with its cult-comedy pilot Zombieland.
The move comes as the online player continues to bulk up its original efforts, with its differentiator being a crowd-sourcing pickup strategy. Customers will be able to watch this Sony Pictures TV-produced effort along with 12 other pilots (six comedies, six kids entries) for free and then help determine which of them will be made into full-season productions to air on Prime Instant Video.
“Zombieland is a fan favorite, and we can’t wait to see where this story line goes in a serialized format,” said Amazon Studios director Roy Price in a statement announcing the news Monday. “We’ve been announcing a lot of exciting exclusive content for Prime Instant Video, like Downton Abbey, Under the Dome and Justified, and we think adding original shows to that lineup is going to make Prime even more enticing for customers.”
The pilot, based on the 2009 Columbia Pictures film that starred Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and Woody Harrelson, follows four survivors outwitting zombies and searching for a place to call home. The pilot, the company's first from a major studio, hails from the movie’s original creative team, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Joe Schmo Show) and producer Gavin Polone (Gilmore Girls, Curb Your Enthusiasm). Eli Craig (Tucker and Dale vs. Evil) has been tapped to direct the pilot.
“Zombieland will strive to break the rules: action, adventure, thrills, chills and laughs and all packed into a half-hour format,” said Wernick. "This is not your average show, but Amazon is not your average network."
Kirk Ward (The Island) has been cast as Tallahassee, while Maiara Walsh (Desperate Housewives), Tyler Ross (Milkshake) and Izabela Vidovic will play Wichita, Columbus and Little Rock, respectively.
Amazon Studios, which is said to be making pilots that fall into the $1 million budget range (compared with the far-pricier $4 million-plus Netflix efforts), has begun production on its six other comedy pilots: Alpha House, Browsers, Dark Minions, Onion News Empire, Supanatural and Those Who Can’t. On the kids side, the company is working on Creative Galaxy, Oz Adventures, Teeny Tiny Dogs, Tumbleaf, Sara Solves It and The Untitled J.J. Johnson Project.
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose