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Steve McQueen Signs Overall Deal with Amazon, Prepping Space Survival Series ‘Last Days’

The filmmaker's next project, the BBC co-production "Small Axe," also will premiere on Amazon in the U.S.

Steve McQueen'Widows' film premiere, Chicago, USA - 13 Oct 2018

Steve McQueen

Cindy Barrymore/REX/Shutterstock

Another visionary director has made the jump to a streaming service partnership. Amazon Studios announced on Tuesday that it has signed an overall deal with “12 Years a Slave” and “Widows” director Steve McQueen.

Speaking to the Television Critics Association biannual press tour in Pasadena, California, Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke explained that the news also comes with the announcement of a new TV series that is currently being developed.

“We’ve spent the last year conspiring on not only an overall deal, but a new global series. We’re jumping into writing on Steve’s idea ‘Last Days.’ This is an incredibly timely big-swing show we think will be one of our best hits,” Salke said.

McQueen is no stranger to the Amazon universe. His upcoming decades-spanning BBC series “Small Axe” is set to premiere on Prime Video in the U.S. later this year. From the description, “Last Days” sounds as if it’s touching on science-fiction territory, and told with McQueen’s usual deep character approach.

“It’s a big, ambitious idea. He wanted something that felt relevant to him and what he’s been thinking about. The idea is that a group of people are dispatched to space to live there while this planet is declining rapidly,” Salke said.

Despite that ominous-sounding logline, Salke insisted that the show has more optimism than a survival-based premise might imply.

“But there’s a twist to that. It’s not the dystopian thing you’d expect,” Salke said. “You’re taking characters from all different places and they’re being relocated somewhere. There’s a very personal mystery and the Earth plays a huge role in it. It’s not just a burning ball of hell. There’s actually some twists and turns in that story.”

McQueen becomes the latest creator to work with the streaming service, joining a list of individuals with overall deals that now includes Lena Waithe, Gloria Calderón Kellett, and a first-look TV deal with Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions.

It’s a marked change from McQueen’s sentiments at the time of the release of “Widows,” when he spoke to IndieWire about his experience working on a pilot in the HBO system a half-decade ago.

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