Cary Fukunaga Drops Out of TNT Series ‘The Alienist’; Will Next Helm ‘The Black Count’

     September 22, 2016


While many have tried, in the two years since True Detective Season 1 first aired, no one has been able to accomplish the feat of a single writer and a single directing collaborating on a TV series to near-perfect results. That director, Cary Fukunaga, quickly became an in demand name, and while he quickly moved onto the moving child soldier drama Beasts of No Nation, he’s since been busy developing a number of projects. Now, word comes that what was intended to be his return to TV territory is no longer happening.

Fukunaga signed on to direct and executive produce the eight-part TNT series The Alienist back in 2015, but now Deadline reports that due to delays, Fukunaga has dropped the “directing” part and will simply remain involved as an executive producer. Set in the late 1800s, the promising psychological thriller series revolves around the hunt for a serial killer by Teddy Roosevelt. Black Mirror alum Jakob Verbruggen has now stepped in to take over the director’s chair, as he’s set to helm the first two episodes and possibly more.


Image via Netflix

Deadline notes that Fukunaga and Paramount TV went back and forth for nearly a year on The Alienist, as budget constraints led to the location being moved from Canada to New York to eventually Budapest. Now, with everyone finally in agreement, Fukunaga’s other commitments have been pushed back far enough, and he’s opted instead to move on to something else while The Alienist moves into production.

So what is Fukunaga turning his attention to? Deadline says he’ll next direct the feature film The Black Count, which he first became attached to in April 2014. Based on the Tom Reiss novel of the same name, The Black Count tells the true story of The Count of Monte Cristo author Alexandre Dumas, the son of a black slave who rose to command armies at the height of the French revolution, going so far as to rub elbows with Napoleon himself.

Of course before Fukunaga signed on to The Alienist, he was originally supposed to be directing a two-part feature adaptation of Stephen King’s It. Unfortunately, New Line wanted more of a traditional horror film while Fukunaga’s script called for a more nuanced coming-of-age horror story, and he subsequently departed the project. It’s now in production with Mama helmer Andres Muschietti.

Fukunaga is also attached to executive produce and direct the Netflix comedy series Maniac starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill and may or may not be helming Stanley Kubrick‘s Napoleon miniseries for HBO, but it sounds like he’ll first be turning his attention to The Black Count, so we’ve got a ways to wait before Maniac sees the light of day. No matter, news of new Fukunaga whatever it may be is good news indeed. Here’s hoping The Black Count gets moving sooner rather than later.


Image via Focus Features