Michael J. Straczynski at the Pen Series Adaptation of the John Matherson Trilogy – Deadline
EXCLUSIVE: MPI Original Films has acquired the film and television rights to William Forstchen’s best-selling John Matherson Trilogy, consisting of the books A second after, a year after and the last day, for the development of the series with Michael J. Straczynski attached to the writing of the pilot. MPI will co-produce with Vince Gerardis’ Startling Inc. (Game Of Thrones).
The potential series is described as an emotionally poignant and terrifying tale of America’s immediate and devastating return to a dark pre-technological age following a terrorist attack.
Located in the hills of North Carolina, college professor and former military officer John Matherson must fight to save the lives of his family and neighbors following an electromagnetic pulse attack (EMP). In just one second, the United States is completely neutralized, thousands of people are killed and millions are stranded. Planes are falling from the sky, electricity goes out everywhere, supply lines are collapsing, and transportation is limited to pre-computer vehicles and horses. Millions of travelers, unable to return home, roam the highways in search of shelter. In the resulting chaos, residents of John’s tight-knit community look to its leaders for guidance through the tough decisions that must be made if any of them are to survive.
Rob Pfaltzgraff and Stacey Parks of MPI and Matt Kennedy of Startling will be the executive producers of the project.
“MPI Original Films is delighted to partner with Startling Inc. and J. Michael Straczynski to bring William Forstchen’s post-apocalyptic thriller to life,” said MPI President Rob Pfaltzgraff. “The series not only paints an alarming picture of the dramatic and immediate effect of an EMP, but demonstrates how society can overcome immense adversity through self-reliance, personal sacrifice, hard work and cooperation. “
Matt Kennedy of Startling added: “We are delighted to be working with MPI to bring Bill Forstchen’s sensational and highly entertaining warning story to screen.”
Straczynski recently created, wrote and broadcast (with the Wachowskis) the Netflix series Sens8 and was nominated for a Producers Guild Award for his work on the series’ final film. He also created the Showtime series Jeremiah. His screenplay for the feature film directed by Clint Eastwood Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay. His other film credits include Underworld: Awakening, World War Z, Thor and Ninja Assassin. Stracyznski currently in development Babylon 5, described as a “top-to-bottom reboot” of the critically acclaimed 1990s series, set on The CW with Warner Bros. Television. Straczynski is replaced by A3 Artists Agency and Gendler-Kelly.
MPI Original Films is a subsidiary of the production company and talent incubator Moving Picture Institute. His films include the 2019 feature film Miss Virginie with Uzo Aduba and A piece of cake with Rich Sommer, who was recently nominated for Best Short Narrative at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Pfaltzgraff from MPI and Parks and Kennedy from Startling negotiated the deal with Straczynski.