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Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Too Old To Die Young’: Everything You Need to Know About the Amazon TV Show

The “Drive” director has a new series for Amazon starring Miles Teller and Jena Malone.

Nicolas Winding Refn'Dawn of the Dead' photocall, 73rd Venice Film Festival, Italy - 02 Sep 2016


Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s newly announced crime series has been kept extremely under wraps — until recently. Refn has been sharing behind-the-scenes photos and videos on his personal Twitter account since before production officially started. He’s announced the high-profile talent making up most of the cast, hyping fans and critics for another wild crime drama to take the small screen. As the genre heightens in popularity for TV audiences, the “Drive” director’s pairing with Amazon derives eager speculation as to what this grisly new drama will look like.

The series has been greenlit with a 10-episode straight-to-series order residing at Amazon. “Too Old To Die Young” takes place in the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles, exploring various characters’ “existential journeys from being killers to becoming samurais in the city of angels.” With shooting having just begun, start getting acquainted with the details surrounding this star-studded series.

Shooting Will Last For 10 Months

According to a video Refn tweeted out November 27, shooting has officially begun and will last for up to 10 months. Prefacing the self-recorded video is a message reading “Dear Friends, Hello from Day One on Too Old To Die Young!” Sporting a watermelon-printed blanket and a “Make TV Great Again” hat, Refn takes his followers inside an empty writer’s room where scripts mount the walls.

“I’m shooting for 10 months. It’s almost like having an existential crisis every day. But creativity is about turning your weakness into your strength,” he said with a smile. “I’m looking forward to everyone participating in this odyssey of creativity.”

It’s exciting to see how committed NWR is to, quote, “making TV great again,” considering it’s only his second time working in the medium. His other television endeavor was serving as director for two episodes of “Agatha Cristie’s Marple,” a British series that went off the air in 2013 after its sixth season.

The Cast Is Full Of Favorites

Thanks again to Refn’s activity on Twitter, the world now knows the cast that’ll be bringing “Too Old To Die Young” to life on screen. Notably, Miles Teller will be acting for television for the first time — his performance in Damien Chazelle’s 2014 film “Whiplash” gained critical acclaim and since then he has starred in major films such as the “Divergent” franchise and “Thank You For Your Service.”

Billy Baldwin is also set to star — besides ironic appearances such as playing himself in “MacGyver” and attending the role of Lance Drake Mandrell in “30 Rock,” Baldwin’s last memorable TV roles track back to his run as William van der Woodsen on “Gossip Girl” and his recurring role on “Parenthood.” “Hunger Games” alum Jena Malone will also appear in “Too Old To Die Young,” as well as John Hawkes, Nell Tiger Free, Babs Olusanmokun, Callie Hernandez, and Cristina Rodlo.

Ed Brubaker Will Serve As An Executive Producer

Comic book author, illustrator, and TV writer Ed Brubaker first gained traction as a comic book author on the semi-autobiographic series “Lowlife” published in the mid-‘90s. His oeuvre is impressive, with over 150 published graphic novels in just the DC and Marvel extended universe, as well as script work on HBO’s “Westworld.”

The graphic novelist is also gifted in designing and illustrating some of the stories he’s involved with, leaning towards a darker vision. Brubaker’s comic book background, alongside Refn’s neon-noir filmmaking style, is sure to stun audiences with both dreamlike visuals and hard-hitting, graphic realities.

There Will Be Swords Involved

Nothing screams Nicolas Winding Refn like violent sword-wielding against visually striking backgrounds. As mentioned before, the vague logline for the series reveals that “killers” will become “samurais in the city of angels,” which should be taken very literally knowing the extent of Refn’s films: There are extreme doses of explicit violence seen in the Ryan Gosling lead “Only God Forgives” and his earlier piece, “Valhalla Rising,” starring a one-eyed and merciless Mads Mikkelsen. There’s no telling how far Refn will take the new Amazon series, but it’s sure to be different than anything currently on the Prime roster.

“Only God Forgives”

Refn Has Hinted At a “Neon Demon” Crossover

“The Neon Demon” is a horror/thriller written and directed by Refn that was released in 2016 and produced by Amazon Studios. The film stars Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, and Keanu Reeves and has built a cult following, and the bizarre nature of the movie is making fans truly wonder what “Too Old To Die Young” will contain, given that Amazon has allowed major creative leniency in the past.

Refn seems to be thoroughly enjoying teasing his Twitter followers with whimsical behind-the-scenes photos and strange, ambiguous hints, and on November 24, he tweeted: “Dear Friends! The Neon Demon will appear as One Eye in Too Old To Die Young,” accompanied by a black and white picture of mannequin heads.

Even fans who took the time to reply weren’t exactly sure what the director meant by this, but there’s heavy symbolism of sight using literal eyeballs in both “The Neon Demon” and “Valhalla Rising.” One guess is that “The Neon Demon” and “Too Old To Die Young” might be in the same universe, similarly to “Mulholland Drive” and “Twin Peaks,” but it’s much too early for even good-natured speculation.

"The Neon Demon"

“The Neon Demon”

Amazon Studios

Refn and Brubaker Are Also Teaming Up On A Movie, Due to Premiere in 2018

Refn has most recently attached himself to the feature-length project “Maniac Cop,” which is currently in pre-production and is set to premiere sometime in 2018. Refn will serve as a producer on Ed Brubaker’s original screenplay which tells us one thing: these two work well together.

Interestingly enough, “Maniac Cop” is also set in present-day day Los Angeles and follows a police officer set on revealing the truth about a string of brutal murders of innocent people committed by a fellow cop.

“To Old To Die Young” May Premiere On Amazon in 2018..

…but don’t quote us on that. It’s too early to say for sure, but both IMDB and The Movie Database claim that “Too Old To Die Young” will be available in the summer of 2018. However, given Refn’s claim that the shoot will last 10 months, the release date may border on 2019. Stay tuned in by following the director on Twitter and keeping up with IndieWire updates.

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