'House of Cards' Studio Plots Next Projects
On Feb. 1, film and TV studio Media Rights Capital will launch the $100 million David Fincher-helmed House of Cards on Netflix, with 13 of its first 26 episodes starring Kevin Spacey all debuting in one day. Now, MRC, the artist-friendly studio behind the smash film Ted, has lured other top filmmakers -- such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes' Rupert Wyatt (for a mystery series with Erica Beeney writing), RoboCop's Jose Padilha (an action-thriller with Contraband's Aaron Guzikowski writing) and Flight's Robert Zemeckis (a sci-fi drama) -- to move into cable series, too. In a THR interview, co-CEO Modi Wiczyk explains MRC's strategy.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: How did you persuade big filmmakers and stars to work for a digital service?
Modi Wiczyk: You're not dealing with folks who are afraid of or cowed by new things. Kevin and David are unbelievably sophisticated about technology, and we're all aware of the fact that the entire business is in flux. We had the broadest canvas possible artistically, and we had the chance to be sort of an anchor show for a network with 25 million or so subscribers. That was very attractive to everybody. Mad Men was that for AMC. FX had The Shield; Showtime had Weeds; The Sopranos did it for HBO. And Netflix was passionate enough to say, "You know what, make 26 episodes, that's how much we love it."
THR: What does a Netflix note look like?
Wiczyk: There aren't really any notes.
THR: Fincher is known for pursuing his vision despite costs. Are the reports you've gone overbudget accurate?
Wiczyk: Nope. They've been diligent -- and he's a partner, which helps. These guys want to win, and they've been responsible. Since we started shooting, we have not had a single problem at all. Not one.
THR: You're developing a police thriller with The X Files' Chris Carter. What's the status?
Wiczyk: It's still percolating. I can tell you we've made deals with Rupert Wyatt, with Bob Zemeckis and with Jose Padilha. They're all show-specific deals. Our model is to fund development, support the filmmaker, help them put the package together and then go and try to find a home for it.
THR: What's the status of Ted 2?
Wiczyk: Everyone wants to make it, all the guys are talking about putting it together.
THR: In 1999, you famously wrote a memo that predicted studios' power would wane and filmmakers would benefit. How accurate were you?
Wiczyk: That memo was sort of like my high school graduation photo. You're like, "What was I wearing?" People bring it up, and I get horrified. Look, we've obviously changed and learned … but the thing that's been consistent for us is that it has always been artists and filmmakers first.