Starz is turning the 2005 best picture winner Crash into a 13 episode miniseries, the movie networks first original drama ever.
Lionsgate, who distributed the film, is co-producing along with Starz. Don Cheadle, one of the stars of the film, will work behind the camera long with Paul Haggis, the director, producer and co-writer of the film. Producers Bobby Moreso (co-writer of the movie), Bob Yari, Mark R. Harris and Tom Nunan will serve as producers on the project, while the pilot has been written by Caleb Kane.
Shelanski said the series would have “high production values,” but decisions are still to be made on casting and the shooting location. Starz will be able to begin work on those details immediately, Shelanski said, because Lionsgate has signed a separate deal with the writers guild.
“This is a big step up financially for us,” he said. An average production cost for a broadcast-network hour is about $2.5 million per episode, and “Crash” is unlikely to cost any less than that. Starz and Lionsgate will share in the production cost. Starz Media’s Anchor Bay Entertainment has exclusive U.S. distribution rights to the series, including DVD. Lionsgate gets international distribution. All of these revenues will be shared by the two companies.
Kevin Beggs, president of programming and production for Lionsgate, said the project was originally developed by FX, but when the network asked for a delay after renewing three of their original first-year series (Dirt, The Riches and Damages), Lionsgate decided to move to another network.
“We didn’t want to wait,” said Beggs, who had talked to Shelanski earlier and was aware of his drive to commission TV series for Starz based on high-visibility theatrical movies.
None of the major characters from the film are likely to make an appearance in the series.
“We’ll use the style of storytelling from the movie,” he said, “but there’ll be new characters and new stories to get into the subjects of race and class, and the bigotry that’s simmering under the skin of a city like Los Angeles.”