American Civil War Drama From Ava DuVernay in the Works at HBO Max

Ava DuVernay attends 2018 Black Girls Rock! - Getty-H 2019
Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage

Ava DuVernay is going into business with HBO Max.

The When They See Us and Queen Sugar multihyphenate and Westworld executive producer Roberto Patino are developing a series based on DC Comics title DMZ, a futuristic drama set during an American civil war. The project has a pilot order at the WarnerMedia streaming platform.

Based on the critically hailed Brian Wood-Riccardo Burchielli comic, DMZ is set in a near-future where America is embroiled in a bitter civil war. The island of Manhattan has become a demilitarized zone separating the two sides, largely destroyed and isolated from the rest of the world. 

The series will follow a fierce female medic who saves lives while desperately searching for her lost son. As she contends with the gangs, militias, demagogues and warlords who now control the lawless island, she becomes the unlikely source of what everyone there has lost: hope.

The project comes from DuVernay's Array Filmworks and Warner Bros. TV, where DuVernay has a rich overall deal. She is set to direct and executive produce the pilot. Patino, whose credits also include Sons of Anarchy and The Bastard Executioner, is writing and executive producing. Filming on the pilot is slated to begin in early 2020.

The pilot order comes a day after President Donald Trump, facing an impeachment inquiry in Congress, tweeted a quote from Fox News contributor Robert Jeffress referring to a "Civil War-like fracture" if Trump is removed from office.

DuVernay is coming off the Emmy-winning When They See Us, a limited series about the five men wrongfully accused and convicted in the so-called Central Park jogger case of the 1980s. (Lead actor Jharrel Jerome and the show's casting team won awards; DuVernay was nominated for writing and directing and shared in the show's outstanding limited series nod.)

DuVernay is also attached to another DC project, a feature film based on the New Gods comic. Her OWN series Queen Sugar has been renewed for a fifth season, and a second series at the cabler, the romance anthology Cherish the Day, is set to premiere early next year.

HBO Max is set to launch in the spring with a deep roster of library series and movies from across WarnerMedia properties, including Friends, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory. The streamer has greenlit more than a dozen scripted and unscripted series and is developing several pilots and original feature films.