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HBO Orders ‘The Outsider’ Drama Series Based On Stephen King Novel Starring Ben Mendelsohn From Jason Bateman & MRC


by Nellie Andreeva
December 3, 2018 9:30am

HBO has given a series order to supernatural drama The Outsider, based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, with Ben Mendelsohn set to star and produce. The project, which marks Mendelsohn’s return to TV following his Emmy-winning turn on Bloodline, hails from The Night Of co-creator/executive producer Richard Price, director-producer Jack Bender (Mr. Mercedes) Jason Bateman’s Aggregate Films, Temple Hill Entertainment and MRC. Ozark star/director/executive producer Bateman is set to direct the first two episodes of The Outsider and I hear he may play the co-lear opposite Mendelsohn in the two-header.

In The Outsider, written by Price, a seemingly straightforward investigation into the gruesome murder of a local boy leads a seasoned cop and an unorthodox investigator to question everything they believe to be real, as an insidious supernatural force edges its way into the case. The book was published in May by Charles Scribners and Sons.

Price executive produces with Bateman and Michael Costigan via Aggregate Films, Marty Bowen for Temple Hill Entertainment, and Bender. MRC is the studio on the project, which is being produced by Bateman’s Aggregate Films and Temple Hill Entertainment.

MRC optioned King’s The Outsider earlier this year for a 10-episode limited series adaptation and in June tapped Richard Price to write/executive produce it and Jack Bender and Marty Bowen to exec produce. Mendelsohn has since been tapped to star and Bateman and his Aggregate Films boarded the project, which MRC developed internally with Price writing the pilot script before the package was taken out.
This marks Aggregate’s second collaboration with MRC following the Netflix series Ozark, recently renewed for a third season, on which Bateman serves as director, producer and male lead. Bateman also helmed the first two episodes of that series.

Australian-born Mendelsohn won a best supporting actor Emmy for his performance in Netflix series Bloodline. He was recently seen as Director Orson Krennic in Stars Wars: Rogue One and also starred in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. He currently headlines the Nicole Holofcener film The Land of Steady Habits for Netflix, just wrapped a role in The King for director Joel Edgerton and appears in Disney’s upcoming Captain Marvel. Mendelsohn is repped by CAA in the U.S. and United Management in Australia.

Bateman’s Aggregate Films in July inked a first-look deal with Netflix for film and TV. Bateman is repped by CAA, Lighthouse Management + Media and HJTH law firm.

Price co-created and executive produced HBO’s acclaimed limited series The Night Of. He’s currently co-executive producer on the network’s period drama The Deuce. He is repped by UTA.
Bender and Bowen previously teamed on the Audience series Mr. Mercedes.

King is repped by Paradigm and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman.

https://deadline.com/2018/12/hbo-or...mendelsohn-from-jason-bateman-mrc-1202512665/
 

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The Outsider HBO

Seen the promos, coming Jan 12, based on a Stephen King story.

Richard Price appears to be in charge. He did The Night Of miniseries a couple of years ago, as well as The Wire, The Deuce and many other prestige projects.

The promos feature Jason Bateman but IMDB has him listed only in one episode. He directed a couple and is listed as an EP.

Maybe IMDB is wrong about being only in one episode.

At first seems like something in the vein of Sharp Objects, a gothic mystery like True Detective except it's a vehicle for one star.

HBO has a very good record with miniseries so this will probably be good as well.
 

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It will be interesting to see if this miniseries removes the book's direct connection to the "Mr. Mercedes" series of books, which shares a primary character with "The Outsider." As for Bateman, I can say that choosing that particular actor for that particular character will definitely create heightened dramatic effect.

I definitely look forward to this, and I'm happy it will be more accessible than the "Mr. Mercedes" series is.
 

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Threads merged.
 

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it'll be interesting seeing HBO's take on a Stephen King adaptation...after years of average King adaptations he's finally getting some good writers to adapt his work for Netflix etc...I hear Castle Rock on Hulu is a good mashup of King novels and the 2 part 'It' adaptation for the big screen was pretty impressive
 

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Discussion Starter #10
From HOTP thread:


‘The Outsider': A Stephen King Thriller Goes Lights Out
A murder mystery takes a supernatural turn in a show so dark — literally — it’s tough to follow
By Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone - Jan. 6, 2020

Midway through HBO’s new mystery/horror hybrid The Outsider, a character buys a half-dozen lamps at a hardware store, takes them out to the woods, and dumps them in a field. The series doesn’t make room for humor, but this is a very funny moment, albeit an unintentional one. It’s as if the people making The Outsider — an impressive group that includes Richard Price (The Wire, The Night Of) as lead writer and Emmy winner Jason Bateman as lead director — want to make abundantly clear what contempt they have for the concept of lighting.

The Outsider, based on the Stephen King novel, is a thematically dark story. In a small Midwest town, local cop Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) arrests beloved teacher and Little League coach Terry Maitland (Bateman again) for the brutal killing of a young boy. There is overwhelming evidence that Terry did this, but equally overwhelming evidence that he couldn’t have possibly done it. As the investigation unfolds and grows increasingly messy and violent, there are more child murders, suicides, shootings, and increasing hints that something more monstrous than man’s inhumanity to man is at work.

But it’s also literally a dark story. Scenes frequently play out in conditions close to pitch-blackness, making many story beats difficult to follow. There’s an attempted jump scare in a barn, for instance, and the only way I knew what the show was trying to do was the music choice and the reaction of the actor in the scene, because it was impossible to make out that something had appeared to scare him, let alone what that something was. And that’s one of many, many moments where the visibility is all but nonexistent. It’s as if cross-breeding the lead director of Ozark with the network that gave you “The Battle of Winterfell” produces a TV show that seems like it was filmed in a coal mine during an eclipse.

There’s long been a bias towards tonally dark stories as more fundamentally important, which is why so much television of the past 20 years has involved some combination of antiheroes, drug dealers, serial killers, and other folks you wouldn’t want to invite to birthday karaoke. But we’ve seen a spate of shows lately like this and Ozark (and, really, the bulk of Netflix’s dramas) that seem to treat literal darkness as a good in and of itself — or, at least, that are assembled on such high-end post-production equipment that the people involved don’t realize how goddamn hard it is to see parts of it.

But it’s not just its allergy to lighting that makes The Outsider difficult to follow. It’s that Bateman and some of the directors who follow him (including fellow Ozark vet Adam Bernstein, Karyn Kusama, and Igor Martinovic) often choose the most confounding framing possible for moments set in brighter hours. Certain events are shot from several rooms away, or across the street. We can often be a minute or more into a scene before it’s clear where it’s taking place and who’s in it. Occasionally, the show’s various tics all come together for one particularly inexplicable moment. A significant character dies early on, and I only realized it near the start of the following episode when someone went to pick out their coffin, because the scene where that person suffers a fatal heart attack (or a stroke? an aneurysm? a ruptured appendix?) is filmed through a doorway late at night.

Some of these choices are no doubt meant to make the viewer feel as disoriented as Ralph and the other characters as the Maitland investigation proves more and more impossible to understand. The series opens with a collection of scenes presented out of order — Ralph and his men preparing to arrest Terry, intercut with Ralph first gathering all the damning evidence against him — as if Price and his collaborators need to prepare us for how confusing this case will become. But there’s putting your audience on edge and then there’s making a story more trouble to follow than it’s ultimately worth.

Though the circumstances of the murder quickly baffle Ralph and the other cops — particularly how there is video evidence of Terry being out of town at the time of the murder, even as multiple eyewitnesses and DNA samples link him directly to it — it takes Price a while to lean into the potential supernatural aspects of the tale, or to introduce Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), an eccentric private investigator who may have extra-normal gifts of her own(*).

(*) King introduced Holly in one of his other book series, which has been adapted (for DirecTV’s Audience Network) as Mr. Mercedes, where Justin Lupe from Succession plays the role.

Holly is perhaps on the autism spectrum, and speaks almost entirely in clear, declarative sentences. Her arrival in the third episode helps put certain aspects of the story into better focus, even as things get stranger. But good as Erivo is, the show with her remains mostly an unpleasant march. And the way the story plays out, the audience is able to get ahead of the characters about the true nature of what is really happening, which makes it frustrating to sit through the portions where Holly has to figure it out and convince Ralph and the others to believe her. The performers — also including Mare Winningham as Ralph’s wife, Julianne Nicholson as Terry’s wife, and The Night Of‘s Bill Camp as a local lawyer — are all strong, but in service of storytelling that doesn’t always deserve them. Imagine the more overheated aspects of True Detective, but with more blatant nods to demons and far less impressive visuals.

“I have no tolerance for the unexplainable,” Ralph says the first time Holly suggests an inhuman explanation for the murder. The Outsider will leave you with similar impatience for the indecipherable.

‘The Outsider’ premieres Sunday, January 12th on HBO. I’ve seen the first six (of 10) episodes. ★★ (out of five)

[URL="https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-r...review-933187/ "]https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-r...review-933187/[/URL]

 

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Ugh, another show with a lot of dark scenes?

WTH, these directors can't block a well lit scene so they use this crutch of artsy darkness.
 

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HBO + Stephen King adaptation = :)

dark shows don't bother me as I have an OLED...until MicroLED's come out in a few years I'm happy with my display
 

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I guess I may have to jump in with OLED now. Was waiting to see if LG would make a jump in panels in 2020.

Doesn't sound like it so time to look for C9 deals.
 

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I guess I may have to jump in with OLED now. Was waiting to see if LG would make a jump in panels in 2020.

Doesn't sound like it so time to look for C9 deals.
streaming/cable has issues with compression and low bit-rates so black levels are still an issue as seen last year with the big Battle of Winterfell GoT episode...
 

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I thought generally HBO Go did better than the cable HBO channel for those dark scenes in GoT

Not necessarily the last season but previous scenes when Arya was in the hall of all those faces when she was training.

I think it's a matter of how much bitrate they're willing to use for encoding, which is probably dependent on their bandwidth costs for hosting.

Clearly, some services like Apple+ are wiling to use much higher bitrates but as they accumulate a lot more content library and have more users, they may also cut back on bitrates on their encodes.

I wish they would all offer higher-bitrate encodes as download options. But then the studios would probably object because if customers have pristine copies they might be less willing to consume (buy) other versions of the same content

For Apple, larger downloads could be good for business, to get people to buy devices with larger capacity, leading to higher ASP, revenues and profits.
 

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I've never been a fan of Jason Bateman (especially as a leading man) so that alone worries me as far as the quality of this series
 

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It sounds like Bateman isn't the main character? He's more involved behind the scenes including directing?
 
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