Miramax TV Boss On ‘The Gentlemen’s Pandemic Origins & Potential Season 2, Industry Contraction & ‘Halloween’ TV Series Updates

Almost four years after Marc Helwig joined Miramax as Head Of Worldwide Television, he walked the London red carpet Tuesday for the global premiere of the company’s Guy Ritchie series for Netflix, The Gentlemen, alongside celebrity guests like David Beckham and Jason Statham.

The Gentlemen is a “pandemic series.” In 2020, after he took over Miramax TV, Ritchie’s The Gentlemen movie was on Helwig’s mind, literally. A billboard for the Miramax film had been put up on his street corner in late 2019 and stayed there until 2022, with Helwig passing by it daily.

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“It started in the very early days of the pandemic when I first joined Miramax and found myself on these Zooms with Guy Ritchie and his producing partner Ivan Atkinson,” he said about the show’s origins. “The film had turned into a little bit of a cult success after its release; the movie was one of the last major releases before the world shut down.” (The Gentlemen was released in the U.S. on Jan. 24, 2020.)

The trio looked for ways to adapt the film for TV.

“There was an opportunity there because Guy had originally conceptualized it as a television series and then [former Miramax CEO] Bill Block decided to go make a movie. So there was a proof of concept that was baked in there.”

What’s more, “the show represents a proof of concept for my mandate here at Miramax Television, which is taking film IP and adapting it for television with a filmmaker-centric approach. It’s locally produced at a reasonable budget for that territory, though ultimately aimed at a global audience.”

The Gentlemen was commissioned through Netflix UK, run by Anne Mensah, with Miramax TV partnering with a local production company, Moonage Pictures.

“To me, the key thing was looking for ways to try and make it work, that the budget did not go beyond the scope of what’s possible in this region, but [the series] can reach that wide audience and have a sense of scale to it,” Helwig said.

Created by Ritchie based on his film, The Gentlemen, which debuted on Netflix yesterday, stars Theo James as a Duke who unwittingly becomes part of a weed-growing empire and must navigate a world of eclectic and dangerous characters with nefarious agendas, while trying to protect his home and stay alive. The cast also includes Kaya Scodelario, Joely Richardson, Giancarlo Esposito, Peter Serafinowicz, Vinnie Jones and Ray Winstone.

James was locked in for the role just as The White Lotus Season 2 was coming out, putting him firmly in the pop culture conversation.

“He is a wonderful actor, and he has a great movie star quality to him,” Helwig said. “He also encapsulates so many qualities of that character really, really well. There are so many wild characters around him; he’s your guide through that world, and he does it extremely well.”

Season 2 plans

The Gentlemen was conceived as an ongoing series that could run for multiple seasons, and Ritchie already has ideas for a potential second installment.

“We have started that process,” Helwig said. “There are some writers we’ve talked to, certainly lots of discussion with Guy about what he might want to do in a second season, what things to focus on.”

Helwig cautioned that the first season “has to perform, and then we’ll know more,” adding, “but it’s been an active ongoing discussion already what a second season would be.”

In success, The Gentlemen series could “spawn some kind of a universe, a Guy Ritchie world,” that could potentially lead to another movie, Helwig said.

That is an approach Miramax is applying to Halloween.

Halloween franchise
‘Halloween: Resurrection,’ ‘Halloween’ & ‘Halloween Ends’

Halloween TV series: “A creative reset”

Miramax Television in October signed a deal with Trancas to develop and co-produce a Halloween TV series, which is envisioned to potentially launch a cinematic universe spanning film and television. (Miramax and Blumhouse collaborated with Trancas on the successful recent Halloween movie trilogy.)

“We’re on a fast track, it’s a big priority for us. We’ve had lots of exciting conversations in recent months with a number of really talented people, and I think we’ll have a pretty good idea of what we’re going to be doing very soon,” Helwig said, adding, “We’re hoping to lock down the creative team very soon.”

While the search for a writer is still ongoing, the idea for the TV series already has been identified.

“It’s a big world,” Helwig said of the 13-movie franchise. The most recent trilogy culminating with Halloween Ends provided a fitting conclusion to the story, “so I don’t think that is an opportunity to go off the back of that.”

So the series is going back to the Halloween franchise’s origins.

“The foundation of it is the original film, the John Carpenter movie, the characters of that film, and perhaps a group of characters that we haven’t really focused on that much in recent film versions or even in a number of them,” Helwig said. “It’s a creative reset completely and going back to the original film, as opposed to spinning out of any of the more recent film adaptations.”

Development Pipeline Updates

At Netflix, Miramax also has in the works The Henna Artist, a series based on Alka Joshi’s bestselling debut novel, with Freida Pinto attached to star and executive produce. Also in development at Miramax is The Key Man, a limited series about disgraced financier Arif Naqvi with Dev Patel starring and executive producing.

“We’re making good progress on both right now,” Helwig said, adding that “we’re also very excited about” Prêt-à-Porter, a series adaptation of the Miramax movie, which is at the BBC.

“Talent centric, film IP, and filmmaker relationships turned into opportunities in television,” Helwig said, summing up the company’s strategy.

Hollywood contraction: “it’s like The Hunger Games

“We’re preparing for it every single day with everything that we do,” Helwig said about the ongoing contraction in the TV business. “You just have to assume that the money isn’t there anymore. You have to assume that the slots are not there anymore. It’s going to be hard, it’s like The Hunger Games. It’s a lot of people fighting over very little and I don’t see that really coming to an end this year. Or perhaps ever.”

The scale-back may have been inevitable, Helwig admits.

“Perhaps it’s a much needed contraction,” he said. “It was not sustainable at the level that it was at. So it’s probably an alignment that is synced up with economic demands, but it makes it hard for everybody.”

Facing fewer opportunities and lower budgets, “you have to be quite nimble at how you put these projects together,” Helwig said. “We’re certainly very happy to do partnerships, co-productions, things that minimize and mitigate risk a little bit for us, but gets us to a place where we have multiple things going. We have smaller shows, we did The Turkish Detective series for Paramount last year, which will now premiere on the BBC in the spring. So it’s a mix of things.”

(L-R) Michael Vu, Joely Richardson, Max Beesley, Daniel Ings, Theo James, Guy Ritchie, Kaya Scodelario, Ray Winstone and Giancarlo Esposito attend the UK Series Global Premiere of “The Gentlemen” at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on March 05, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
(L-R) Michael Vu, Joely Richardson, Max Beesley, Daniel Ings, Theo James, Guy Ritchie, Kaya Scodelario, Ray Winstone and Giancarlo Esposito attend the UK Series Global Premiere of “The Gentlemen” at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on March 05, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

The Gentlemen: “A dream come true”

Reflecting personally on The Gentlemen‘s glitzy premiere, “It’s very rewarding, because it really started off in a very unspectacular way as a discussion between three people, Guy, Ivan and myself, about what this might be,” Helwig said. “It wasn’t exactly the most vibrant market that we came into at the height of the pandemic, it wasn’t a bidding war situation. It was really something that had to be built from the ground up to meet the needs of distribution.

“And to come to the end of that journey at Theatre Royal Drury Lane with a lot of pomp and circumstance, it’s a dream come true for me,” he added. “Hopefully it’ll do well. Hopefully people will like it. But again, for me, it’s a bit of a proof of concept for what I’ve been trying to get going for the last couple of years and hopefully, it will bode well for future projects.”

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