Emmy-nominated actor Oscar Isaac is in talks to executive produce and star in a Kurt Vonnegut series titled Helltown that’s in the works at Amazon Studios from newly-crowned Oscar winner Edward Berger, the director and producer of All Quiet On the Western Front, and Robert Downey Jr.‘s Team Downey banner.
The eight-episode crime thriller is based on the book of the same name by prolific author Casey Sherman, and the series hails from writer Mohamad El Masri (Severance), who will serve as Helltown‘s showrunner.
Isaac will play Vonnegut, though the series takes place before his success, when he was just a car salesman and struggling novelist living on Cape Cod with his wife and five children. When two women are found dead on the sandy outskirts of Provincetown, Kurt becomes obsessed with the hunt for the killer and forms a dangerous bond with the prime suspect in the chilling case.
Vonnegut would, of course, go on to become a literary giant as well as a cultural lightning rod thanks to novels such as Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and Mother Night.
The series will be executive produced by Isaac, Berger, El Masri, Sherman, the Team Downey trio of Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, and Amanda Burrell, and Isaac’s Mad Gene producing partner Gena Konstantinakos. Amazon Studios, Team Downey, and Mad Gene are producing the project.
Berger’s German-language anti-war film All Quiet on the Western Front was nominated for nine Oscars on Sunday night, winning four — Best International Feature, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, and in a surprising upset, Best Production Design. The Netflix movie also swept the BAFTAs — this coming several years after Berger won a BAFTA for the Showtime miniseries Patrick Melrose. He’s represented by CAA, Range Media Partners, and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.
Isaac is coming off of Marvel’s Disney+ series Moon Knight and HBO’s Scenes From a Marriage, as well as an Oscar nomination for producing the recent short film The Letter Room. He’s represented by WME, which also reps Downey.
El Masri serves as a co-executive producer on Apple’s Severance, which is currently in production on Season 2, while Sherman wrote the books that led to the Mark Wahlberg movie Patriots Day and the Chris Pine–Casey Affleck movie The Finest Hours. UTA represents El Masri and Sherman, who are respectively managed by Anonymous Content and the Gotham Group.
Team Downey has been busy of late, as Season 2 of Perry Mason just launched on HBO, and Season 2 of Sweet Tooth will soon debut on Netflix. The company earned raves for its documentary about Downey’s filmmaker father, Robert Downey Sr., and it has the ambitious A24 series The Sympathizer in the works at HBO. On the feature side, Team Downey is developing Play Dirty, a new take on Donald E. Westlake‘s Parker series that is set up at Amazon Studios.