The pilot episode of new South African television series The Message, written and
directed by David Golden, has attracted the attention of US company Wonderland
Productions, which has expressed interest in developing the show for HBO
International, an American premium cable and satellite television network.
Says Golden: “We have a contact in Los Angeles who works with comic actor Will
Ferrell on almost all of his films and I contacted him for an opinion of the script and
some of the promo.
“It just so happened that when the email with the script and links came through he
was sitting in an audio session with Ferrell and Adam Mckay during a session for
Anchorman 2. He asked whether they would mind watching something a friend had
sent from South Africa. After watching it, Ferrell requested to read the script after
which he called our contact and said he wanted to help with the project.’
The filmmaker continues: “Ferrell and Mckay own Gary Sanchez Productions and have
a massive in with HBO through their cult show Eastbound and Down. They showed
the promo to a couple of people and then to Josh Schwartz (creator of Chuck and
The OC) and he really liked it and subsequently gave it to Wonderland Productions,
the producers of Chuck.’
Wonderland Productions is owned by director Joseph McGinty “McG’ Nichol
(Terminator: Salvation, This Means War, Charlie’s Angels).
According to Golden, he and his team raised $10 000 through a well-supported
Indiegogo.com campaign to shoot the pilot episode. “Hollywood is responding to this
project due to its unique and relevant spin on domestic terrorism.’
He explains: “Our story centres on a team of elite Special Force operators who don’t
exist on paper and have to stop a brotherhood of right-wing extremists threatening
the nuclear decimation of more than a million people in urban Johannesburg.
“As the show proceeds we begin to see that the conspiracy runs far deeper than
originally anticipated and across ideological, racial and political lines. It is an action
thriller set against the backdrop of a country on the brink of imploding.’
Golden remarks that the decision to go with the mini-series or TV series format was
made very early on. “Times have changed and with it the film industry. Television is
in its golden age and in fact I would suggest it’s in its platinum age. Hollywood is
moving more and more to, what they term, “TV Events’ (mini-series) and we are
seeing more A-listers cross over to the small screen.
“The primary delivery device for visual entertainment in South Africa is the television!
That’s where the market is and you have a much better chance of it becoming
profitable. So we have market-sustainability and an audience eager for content. It
just makes sense.’