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Netflix is plunging into dark and gory.
In the streaming service’s continued foray into the original content business, it has inked a deal with Gaumont International Television for Eli Roth to direct and executive produce the hourlong horror series Hemlock Grove. The project, which has cast Famke Janssen (the X-Men trilogy) and Bill Skarsgard as its leads, is based on Brian McGreevy’s acclaimed gothic horror novel.
The 13-episode first season will be instantly available in early 2013, the producers said Wednesday.
“Eli Roth is a master of this genre, and Brian McGreevy’s brilliant novel gives Roth a world where he can create his magic,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said. “Hemlock Grove is a sly blend of J.D. Salinger and Mary Shelley and will appeal to a broad base of fans captivated by these rich characters and stunning visuals.”
Set in a ravaged Pennsylvania steel town, Hemlock Grove begins with the body of a young girl being found. As the crime goes unsolved and outlandish rumors mount, Roman (Skarsgard) and Peter decide to find the killer on their own, confronting unspeakable truths about themselves and Hemlock Grove as the mystery unfolds. Janssen is set to play the otherworldly beautiful and controlling grande dame of Hemlock Grove. The Peter role has not been cast.
For Roth, this marks his first venture into series television. “I’ve been waiting for years to dive into television, and Eric Newman and I founded Arcade to do elevated genre projects exactly like Hemlock Grove,” the Hostel director said of the dark and deeply complex story.
He added of the outlet that has attracted David Fincher (House of Cards) and Jenji Kohan (Orange Is the New Black), “Netflix as a platform is the perfect hybrid of cinema, television and social networking, with the creative freedom to go as dark as the story needs.”
McGreevy will write and executive produce the series, along with fellow EPs Newman (The Last Exorcism, Dawn of the Dead), Lee Shipman (Harker, Zorro Reborn), Michael Connolly (How to Train Your Dragon) and Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Gallactica). Roth is on board as a director and exec producer.
Janssen, an actor, director and screenwriter who co-stars in the upcoming Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Taken 2, is repped by CAA and Brookside Artist Management; Skarsgard, whose credits include the upcoming Anna Karenina, is repped by WME. Roth also is repped by CAA.
Additional reporting by Rebecca Leffler.
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose
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