June 12, 2013 8:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Rod Lurie Developing Post-Civil War Drama With Starz, Brad Pitt's Plan B (Exclusive)
Starz is going to war.
The premium cable network is developing Monsters of God, a post-Civil War drama from Rod Lurie and Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
Monsters of God is set in 1867 Texas during the Comanche Wars and follows two powerful ex-cavalry men -- a war-hungry colonel and his seemingly by-the-book executive officer -- who struggle to maintain order over the men in their command as they're faced with the challenges of an uncivilized territory and their own inner demons.
"Monsters of God will be set against the backdrop of a one of most savage times in our nation’s history, the Comanche Wars, centered on two men faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges,” Starz managing director Carmi Zlotnik. “We could not be more thrilled to team up with Rod Lurie, who not only conducted extensive research but has an incredible track record for bringing political and psychological thrillers to life in a way that we think our viewers will find compelling.”
Lurie, a prolific screenwriter whose credits include The Contender, The Last Castle and TV's Commander in Chief, is a West Point graduate and former artillery officer in the Army who spent years studying the Comanche Wars during his time in the service. He'll write and executive produce the drama alongside his longtime producing partner Marc Frydman via their Battleplan Productions banner. Starz and Plan B will produce, with the cabler retaining domestic and international multiplatform rights.
"If you want to make a series that is big, ballsy and epic you go to Starz," Lurie said. "I am hoping that the show will have enormous scope, but never at the expense of historical accuracy. My fellow producers and I can't wait to take a shot at this.”
Monsters of God comes after Plan B (World War Z) secured a series commitment for Omar Epps drama Resurrection at ABC and after the production company promoted Jeremy Kleiner to co-president in May.
At Starz, Monsters of God marks the latest war-themed entry to join its development coffers. The network is working with former Newsroom writer Gideon Yago to develop Airborne, a drama set at the dawn of the Vietnam War.
The project comes as Starz continues to ramp up production on original series as it prepares to lose its portfolio of Disney films in 2016. Starz is scheduled to launch at least four scripted series in 2013, including the recently completed final season of Spartacus, season two of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Magic City, freshman period drama Da Vinci's Demons -- which has already been renewed for a second season -- and new limited series The White Queen with Janet McTeer.
The net is also developing a 1970s tabloid journalism drama from Piers Morgan; sci-fi action thriller Incursion from Spartacus' Steven S. DeKnight, about a group of soldiers caught in a war against a hostile alien race; a potential Spartacus spinoff; and Turf, a drama about the birth of hip-hop from Patrick Macmanus; as well as a crime drama from The Departed's William Monahan, among others.
Lurie is repped by CAA, Anonymous Content and Nelson Davis Wetzstein. Plan B is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.