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Superhero Satire ‘The Franchise’ from Armando Iannucci in the Works at HBO, Sam Mendes to Direct Pilot

The new comedy from the "Veep" creator will follow the embattled crew of a dysfunctional superhero movie franchise.

Armando Iannucci

Armando Iannucci

Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP

Armando Iannucci is returning to HBO once again.

The network has ordered a pilot for “The Franchise,” a new satire which will see the “Veep” creator turn his eye for institutional dysfunction toward an industry that has no shortage of it: Hollywood. The series will follow the behind-the-scenes drama on the set of a “dysfunctional, nonsensical, joyous hellscape of franchise superhero movie-making,” as the cast and crew of a fictional franchise wonder if their jobs have any meaning, per the announcement.

The script was written by Jon Brown and Keith Akushie, with Iannucci collaborating with them on the pilot story. Iannucci will serve as an executive producer alongside Sam Mendes, who is also directing the pilot. Pippa Harris, Nicolas Brown, and Julie Pastor are also producing.

The pairing of Iannucci and Mendes is an exciting one for fans of British film and television. The two have never collaborated before, but have emerged as two of the most distinctive artists that the U.K. has produced this century. While comedy may not appear to be in Mendes’ wheelhouse, he has found great success with dark satire through films like “American Beauty.” He also has experience working on some of the biggest blockbusters in the world, having directed the James Bond movies “Skyfall” and “Spectre.” Perhaps his experiences directing that franchise will inspire his work on “The Franchise.”

Iannucci is best known for his political satires, often (though not always) utilizing a mockumentary format. He ruthlessly mocked the inner workings of the British government with the BBC Four series “The Thick of It,” before finding even bigger success with a similar formula on the American political satire “Veep.” The Julia Louis-Dreyfus-led series won 17 Emmys throughout its seven-season run on HBO, with many lamenting how painfully accurate its predictions about American politics eventually became.

In the years since “Veep,” Armando Iannucci wrote and directed the films “The Death of Stalin” and “The Personal History of David Copperfield.” He also created the sci-fi series “Avenue 5” for HBO, which has been renewed for a second and final season.

No information about the cast or potential premiere date of “The Franchise” has been released.

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