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J.J. Abrams and HBO Max are officially putting a series into gear.
The streamer has picked up Duster, a 1970s-set drama from Abrams and LaToya Morgan (Into the Badlands, The Walking Dead). Rachel Hilson (Love, Victor, This Is Us) and Josh Holloway, who worked with Abrams on Lost, head the cast.
Duster is the first series to spring from a nine-figure film and TV deal Abrams’ Bad Robot company signed with WarnerMedia (now Warner Bros. Discovery) in 2019. In April 2020, Duster was one of three Bad Robot projects announced for the yet-to-launch HBO Max, along with The Shining offshoot Overlook and a Justice League Dark project. The latter two have since been scrapped (Bad Robot has shopped Overlook to other possible buyers), as has Abrams’ long-developing sci-fi series Demimonde (which was for the HBO parent channel) after concerns over its projected $200 million-plus budget.
As for Duster, it’s set in 1972 in the Southwest and follows the first Black female FBI agent (Hilson) as she recruits a gutsy getaway driver (Holloway) in a bold effort to take down a growing crime syndicate. The cast also features Keith David , Sydney Elisabeth, Greg Grunberg, Camille Guaty, Asivak Koostachin, Adriana Aluna Martinez and Benjamin Charles Watson.
“Duster is an amalgam of all my favorite things — high octane storytelling with deep characters and so much heart,” said Morgan in a statement. “It’s a dream project and I’m supremely grateful to all the folks at Warner Bros. and HBO Max for believing in this show. And I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime than J.J. to build this incredible world.”
Added Abrams, “LaToya and I are thrilled at the chance to bring the wild, wily and wacky world of Duster to life, especially with this exceptional cast, crew and network.”
The series’ first season will run for eight episodes. Abrams and Morgan wrote the first two installments, which Steph Green (Watchmen, The Americans) directed. Abrams and Morgan (whose TinkerToy Productions has an overall deal with Warner Bros. TV) executive produce with Bad Robot’s Rachel Rusch Rich; Green is an EP on the first two episodes.
“We are delighted to bring this high-voltage crime caper from the brilliant minds of J.J. Abrams and LaToya Morgan to the HBO Max audience,” said HBO Max head of original content Sarah Aubrey. “This show has all the elements of a great Max Original, with propulsive storytelling, fantastic characters, and some truly bad-ass car chases.”
Abrams is repped by CAA and Jackoway Auste; Morgan, by Eclipse Law; Green, by UTA, Entertainment 360, and Johnson Shapiro; Hilson, by Neon Kite, CAA and Goodman Genow; Holloway, by UTA; David, Artists + Reps, Silver J Management and Meyer and Downs; Elisabeth, by Authentic Talent and Literary Management and Gang Tyre; Grunberg, by manager Susan Calogerakis, Paradigm and Jackoway Austen; Guaty, by APA, Impression Entertainment and Brecheen Feldman; Koostachin, by Characters Talent Agency; Martinez, by Isabel Echeverry at Kontakto; and Watson, by A3 Artists Agency, Luber Roklin Entertainment and Play Management.
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