Gus Van Sant, Lee Daniels Among Directors for WGN's 'Ten Commandments' Mini

Lee Daniels
Dan Monick

Legendary producer Laura Ziskin initially developed Lee Daniels’ The Butler. The picture eventually found life with a phalanx of producers and financiers that included NBA ballplayer Michael Finley; Sheila Johnson, the ex-wife of BET’s Bob Johnson; and producer Cassian Elwes.

WGN America is looking for a little The Bible-like magic, ordering Ten Commandments, a 10-part scripted event series from The Weinstein Co. and setting 10 filmmakers to direct each part.

Over 10 nights, filmmakers, including Gus Van Sant (Milk), Lee Daniels (The Butler), Jim Sheridan (In America), Wes Craven (Nightmare on Elm Street) and Michael Cera (Arrested Development), will direct episodes of the mini, bringing a modern interpretation to each commandment. Additional directors will be announced at a later date.

The mini hails from producers Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Silver Linings Playbook) and Bob Weinstein.

STORY: The 'Bible' Effect and the Resurrection of TV Miniseries

"We are thrilled and honored to have filmmakers of this caliber as a part of this ambitious project, and thank Bruce Cohen and The Weinstein Co. for bringing this diverse group of directors together," said WGN America president and GM Matt Cherniss in a statement ahead of the network's presentation on Sunday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "The unique structure of the Ten Commandments project and the stature of directors involved reflects the creative and bold approach to quality programming that we aspire to as we move toward making WGN America a destination network. We look forward to seeing what each of these talented filmmakers has in store for the audience."

"Each of these directors is acclaimed for their own unique brand of style and genre, so it’s clear that we can expect 10 wildly different episodes from this series," said Weinstein, a TWC co-chairman.

"With each helmer choosing his or her own creative team, it will be exciting to see their visions come together," Cohen added.

For WGN, Ten Commandments arrives as the cable network is expanding into original scripted programming. The network on Sunday will present its first scripted foray, Salem, at TCA and has also ordered drama The Manhattan Project to its lineup, which features syndicated repeats of Person of Interest and Parks and Recreation

Religious-themed programming has seen a resurgence of late following History's record-setting scripted miniseries, Bible, as both broadcast and cable networks look to draw both live viewers and cache in the DVR era.