American Gods producer Fremantle has struck a strategic development deal with the film and TV arm of graphic fiction company AWA, whose backers include James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and his sibling Elisabeth’s production firm Sister.
AWA (Artists, Writers & Artisans) launched its content division last year with Hollywood veteran Zach Studin as President and will now work with Fremantle to identify and co-develop a slate of TV projects based on its IP. AWA’s talent line up includes J. Michael Straczynski, Mike Deodato and Garth Ennis.
Fremantle will lead on project financing and development funding, oversee physical production and sell the resulting shows internationally.
Former John Wells Productions and Lionsgate exec Studin will oversee the partnership on AWA’s behalf. “This cutting-edge partnership with Fremantle continues the AWA Studios mission on behalf of our artists, writers, and artisans – to bring their extraordinary stories to global audiences with world class stewardship,” he said.
Fremantle President of Global Drama Christian Vesper said: “This partnership will be a major benefit to us both, providing Fremantle with a unique opportunity to explore new ideas and original stories from exceptionally talented artists and writers – and in return, offering a creative home of a significant scale where AWA will benefit from a global approach.”
AWA, which sold its millionth comic this year, was founded in 2018 by former Marvel execs Bill Jemas and Axel Alonso and Hollywood dealmaker Jon MIller. The company aims to champion artists and writers and allow them to retain ownership of their ideas – the Fremantle deal in theory gives them a more direct route into the television community.
Last year, Warner Bros. won an auction for a film adaptation of Bryan Edward Hill’s AWA-published graphic novel Chariot, with Joseph Kosinski (Top Gun: Maverick) directing, Julian Meiojas (Jack Ryan) adapting and 21 Laps attached to and production partner, as Deadline revealed at the time.
For Fremantle, the deal comes during a busy period, during which it took control of The Pembrokeshire Murders producer Dancing Ledge Productions and signed a first-look deal with Escape To Dannemora EP Nicholas Weinstock. It is also attached to an upcoming drama from Misha Osherovich.