By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 10, 2011 at 2:54AM
Plus 'Twilight: Eclipse' Helmer David Slade To Direct Pilot For 'R.E.M.'
With the stigma of working in TV long since eroded, it seems that there's no big-screen producer, director or writer these days without a TV series or two on the go; only yesterday saw James Mangold and Philip Noyce join big names like Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann and Bryan Singer as helmers who've taken charge of TV pilots in recent memory. Now more news of big-name above-the-line talent who are moving forward on new telly shows, both of which could see themselves turning up on our DVR if they move forward.
Firstly, and possibly most excitingly, is the word from Deadline that CBS has ordered a pilot for "Person Of Interest," the previously announced TV project that marks a collaboration between "Star Trek" and "Super 8" producer-director J.J. Abrams, and Jonathan Nolan, brother of Christopher and co-writer of "The Prestige" and "The Dark Knight." The show was initially announced back in September, but CBS has greenlit a pilot, and the premise of the show has been revealed: it involves a CIA agent recruited by a billionaire to wage a vigilante war on New York criminals.
Abrams is obviously a TV veteran, being behind "Felicity," "Lost" and "Fringe" in the past (he's also got a new show, "Alcatraz," that's gone to pilot at Fox), but this marks Nolan's TV debut, and indeed his first produced project away from his brother (although he's got the Chicago Fire-set romance "Hell and Gone" set up at Warner Bros, with "The Disappearance of Alice Creed" director J Blakeson set to helm). The premise doesn't sound fiercely original, exactly, but with Abrams and Nolan on board, we're sure it'll be more interesting than it sounds -- indeed, EW report a slightly different premise; that the CIA agent teams with a scientist to prevent crimes before they happen. "Minority Report": The series? That sounds more like Nolan and Abrams' speed. Should the pilot prove a hit, it'll likely be added to CBS' fall schedule.
Secondly, David Slade, the director of "30 Days of Night" and "Twilight: Eclipse," has, according to Variety, signed on to helm the pilot for "R.E.M," a show at NBC created by Kyle Killen, writer of both Jodie Foster's upcoming "The Beaver," and the widely praised, but abruptly canceled Fox series "Lone Star." As the title suggests, the series will star Michael Stipe as a past-his-prime indie rocker who travels the country, solving mysteries. Wait, that can't be right.
Actually, the show, which has already drawn comparisons to "Inception," follows a detective who lives across two realities, and must solve cases using clues from both. It's certainly an intriguing premise, and hopefully the script from the widely-tipped Killen will give Slade more substance, to match his undeniable visual sense, than he's had in recent work. As yet, there's no news on casting for either project, but we're sure it'll follow shortly.