Turner boss Kevin Reilly addressed the troubled production of TNT’s upcoming “Snowpiercer” adaptation during the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday.
The adaptation of the Bong Joon Ho’s 2014 film was picked up more than a year ago, but has been derailed by behind scenes the drama, including director and showrunner changes. The upcoming series still does not have a premiere date, nor has it shown any footage.
“We had a pilot that was really promising with some creative people behind it,” Reilly said Monday. “In that case it was a filmmaker who hadn’t really done television before; mounting a series was a different order.”
Josh Friedman wrote the pilot and was set to serve as showrunner, but was replaced by “Orphan Black” co-creator Graeme Manson in February, a decision the network attributed to creative differences. (In a tweet shortly after he departed, Friedman wrote that he “was fired from Snowpiercer in the same phone call I was told it was picked up.”)
Months later, Friedman went after Manson on Twitter, writing that he is “either an idiot, a coward, or a vichy motherf–er.” He continued: “If you’re asked to rewrite someone or take over their show it seems like good sense and good karma to reach out to that person first and a) find out what the circumstances of their departure are and b) thank them for doing the work you’ll be profiting from.”
Following Friedman’s exit, Scott Derrickson exited the project due to a “radically different vision” from Manson, and was replaced by James Hawes.
On Monday, Reilly praised Manson for taking over “Snowpiercer” and called him “a consummate professional” and said he “built off the template of what we had.” He said he’s seen all the episodes and that the network is just figuring out the best time to air it. “I’m very excited about it.”
Joon Ho’s film centers on a ginormous train that circles the frozen wasteland the earth has become and houses what is left of the human race. While the train moves, its inhabitants struggle with the same political and culture issues the world has dealt with for centuries, including social injustice, class warfare and the fight for survival.
Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Mickey Sumner, Susan Park, Benjamin Haigh, Sasha Frolova, Katie McGuinness, Alison Wright, Annalise Basso, Sam Otto, Roberto Urbina, Sheila Vand and Lena Hall make up the cast.