Piper Perabo, Stephen Kay Prep for TV Series 'The Fight'
The conflict correspondent romance is in development for five seasons.
In a world that is increasingly visual — and seemingly dangerous — we're inundated by images from ISIS to Ebola, taken by the photojournalists who risk their lives every day to get just the right shot.
It seems then an unlikely topic for a romance, but Covert Affairs veterans director Stephen Kay and actress Piper Perabo are reteaming for The Fight, which will follow Perabo's photographer character across the world in an ambitious five-season show in development at FremantleMedia and Corona Television.
Both have long been obsessed with photojournalists, and the idea started percolating as the two were working on the last season of Covert Affairs.
The new show, starring Perabo and an as-yet-to-be announced male lead, focuses on the personal, not the political. From the character's home base in Paris, each season moves the story to a different location — Afghanistan, Italy, Africa, Colombia, India — which will shoot on location.
"We knew we wanted to make a big romance with this being the backdrop. These are crazy people who are running into bullets, and they approach love with the same passion they approach their job because every day you could have your last beer. So beer becomes very romantic, a cup of coffee becomes very romantic, a kiss become very romantic," Kay told The Hollywood Reporter.
There's also something compelling about people who deliberately put themselves in harm's way. Kay has been consulting with best-selling author Sebastian Junger as well.
The timing was serendipitous. Kay started writing the pilot as he was wrapping The Lizzie Borden Chronicles in November, Perabo was in the middle of reading the biography of legendary war photographer Lee Miller and filmmakers Richard Johns and Rupert Jermyn were looking for a similar story for their newly created Corona Television. The deal came together over the two weeks before MIPTV and solidified with a meeting with FremantleMedia's global director of drama, Sarah Doole, at the Chateau Marmont.
Kay and Perabo loved the style of shooting abroad during Covert Affairs and will bring even more intensity to The Fight. "You come ready to play because if you don't get it now, there might be a truck coming right behind you with bad people in it. And I think the drama that comes with that brings an undeniable energy to the show. People who love to do what they do is hopefully contagious to an audience," said Kay of shooting in places like Medellin, Colombia.
They also plan to work with local crews. "The people who make shows in those places are people who really want to be there and have a common goal. They are so alert; there is nobody smoking at like the craft services table," added Perabo.
The story mapped out through five eight-episode seasons will avoid any Lost-style endings and is a new model for show development and a strong pitch to networks and digital platforms alike, as they know the series will stick around with the same creative team. It's also the kind of in-depth serial demanded by sophisticated, savvy viewers these days.
As an actress, Perabo described the cinematic storytelling of the five-season model as "heaven."
Perabo was inspired by the legendary Miller's front-line photography — particularly a famous photo of her in Hitler's bathtub. "As soon as I saw that photo, I thought these are the kinds of women that I am amazed by," she said. "I've always been so drawn to those people, so to find a contemporary character that is that brave and relatable is like a dream come true."