The smartphone-focused streaming platform Quibi is gearing up for its April 2020 launch in a major way: first by announcing its only-available-at-night Steven Spielberg horror series and now by giving one of Hollywood’s most thrilling rising stars a series of her very own. The platform has today announced its next big project, a sci-fi series directed by Catherine Hardwicke that follows “Madeline’s Madeline” star Helena Howard as a teenager with a massive, possibly otherworldly secret.
Per the series’ official synopsis: “Set in Merced, California, ‘fifteen minutes into the future,’ ‘Don’t Look Deeper’ centers on a high school senior who can’t seem to shake the feeling that something about her just isn’t right. And that something is… she’s not human… not one of us. This revelation of what she really is, where she comes from, and who has started looking for her, sets in motion a series of events that suddenly puts her entire life in jeopardy.”
Howard will star in the series alongside Don Cheadle and Emily Mortimer in currently undisclosed roles. Hardwicke will direct and executive produce the show, which has tapped Jeffrey Lieber as showrunner, writer, and executive producer.
As Hardwicke told IndieWire earlier this year, she’s a major fan of the expansion of the scripted media space and the opportunities it offers both filmmakers and characters that might not get as much attention in the blockbuster space. “I’ve got two, three, four different series that are in different stages of development,” she told IndieWire in February. “We’re trying to get any of them greenlit, like tomorrow, and start making them. It’s also quite challenging for any director to get anything made. … But I love what’s happening on television, premium cable, streaming, there’s just so many interesting shows on now. And opportunities [for] complex characters, they’ve got great female characters!”
Set to launch on April 6 of next year, Quibi offers a short form content and a smartphone-focused design that aims to cater to an underserved market. It’s a concept that will hopefully help the platform stand out from streaming giants such as Netflix and Hulu, Katzenberg said during his keynote address at the Banff World Media Festival.
The streaming service is planning to launch with eight productions, including “Spielberg After Dark” and “Don’t Look Deeper.” After that original rollout, 26 additional projects will be announced, with one new series hitting the platform every other Monday for the first year.
Quibi’s bite-sized content will come with a suitably small-ish price tag: The first of Quibi’s two pricing tiers will cost $4.99 per month and will run one ad before each video segment. An ad-free subscription will cost $7.99 per month. Both pricing plans are cheaper than all the subscriptions currently available on major competing platforms. Quibi will also offer a two-week free trial period when it launches.