Ang Lee to Direct and Executive Produce FX Pilot TYRANT

     March 14, 2013


“So Ang Lee, you’ve won the Oscar for best director what are ya gonna do now?” “I’m going to direct and executive produce a TV show!”  Once again cluing us all into just how the TV landscape has changed over the last fifteen years from second-tier to top notch storytelling, the Life Of Pi director is set to helm the pilot of Tyrant, a new show that is being set up at FX which will follow an American family caught amidst the inner workings of a Middle Eastern nation.

Hit the jump for the lowdown.

ang-lee-tyrantThe announcement of Lee’s involvement today comes via FX, and the filmmaker will be traveling to Morocco in the next few months to oversee production.  If the pilot heads to series then Lee will remain on the show as an executive producer.  There is no further word on the story and nor have they started casting, but most of the cast is expected to be Middle Eastern.

Why you may want to pay attention to this one beyond the fact that Ang Lee is directing is that Tyrant is being developed by the guys behind Showtime’s ratings and critical hit Homeland — That’d be Howard Gordon, who executive produces the U.S. version of Homeland and Gideon Raff, who created and wrote Hatufim, the Israeli show that Homeland is based on.  If the pilot for Tyrant goes to series then Craig Wright, who’s worked on shows ranging from Lost to United States Of Tara, will act as showrunner.

So, all the cards are falling in place for a smart, engaging and timely show.  And certainly with such talent behind it, it is one to keep an eye on.  Read the full press release below.

Los Angeles, March 14, 2013 – Coming off of his Academy Award® win for Life of Pi, celebrated director Ang Lee will make his television directorial debut with FX, directing the Pilot episode for the highly anticipated drama Tyrant, from Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff (Homeland), and Emmy-nominated writer/producer Craig Wright (Six Feet UnderLost). The announcement was made today by John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks.

Tyrant will be Lee’s first project following Life of Pi.

Tyrant tells the story of an unassuming American family drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation. The series was created by Raff and developed by Gordon and Wright. Raff wrote the pilot script, which comes from Teakwood Lane, the shingle Gordon has set up at 20th Century Fox Television.  Tyrant is produced by Fox 21 and FX Productions.

“Ang Lee has demonstrated time and again an ability to present characters with such depth and specificity that they reveal the universal human condition,” said Landgraf.  “No one could be a more perfect film maker to bring Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, and Craig Wright’s Tyrant to indelible life.”

Gordon, Raff and Wright are executive producers in association with Keshet Broadcasting. Lee is an Executive Producer.  If Tyrant receives a series order, Wright will serve as showrunner.

“The fact that the brilliant Ang Lee has signed on to direct his first project for television speaks to the extraordinary nature of ‘Tyrant,’” commented Bert Salke, President of Fox 21, which will produce the show. “Ang Lee, Gideon Raff, Craig Wright and Howard Gordon are master storytellers at the height of their powers, and the material is incredible. We can’t wait to get started.”

Production on Tyrant is tentatively slated to begin this summer.

Ang Lee is one of the world’s most revered and honored film directors.  A three-time Academy Award winner, most recently winning for Best Director for Life of Pi, the international hit that has earned over 600 million dollars worldwide, Lee previously earned the Best Director honor for the groundbreaking Brokeback Mountain (2006).  His won his first Oscar in 2001 for Best Foreign-Language Film winner, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  Lee’s films have twice won the prestigious Golden Lion Award for Best Picture at the Venice International Film Festival – in 2007 for Lust, Caution and in 2005 for Brokeback Mountain; and twice won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin International Film Festival – in 1993 for The Wedding Banquet and in 1996 for Sense and Sensibility.  Lust, Caution swept Asia’s Golden Horse Awards (Taiwan’s equivalent of the Academy Awards), with eight wins, including Best Film; it is one of the highest-grossing and most critically acclaimed films in the history of Chinese-language cinema.  Lee’s other feature film work includes The Ice StormRide with the DevilThe Hulk starring Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly, Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, and Taking Woodstock.