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Daniels Ink Five-Year Deal with Universal After ‘Everything Everywhere’ Success

Directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert and their producer Jonathan Wang are now part of an exclusive multi-year deal with Universal.

Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan

Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan

Joyce Kim

Get ready for Daniels to be behind everything, everywhere all at once.

The directing duo that helmed A24’s record-breaking multiverse film “Everything Everywhere All At Once” officially confirmed an exclusive five-year deal with Universal. Their producer, Jonathan Wang, is also part of the partnership.

Daniels, comprised of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, similarly followed in Jordan Peele’s footsteps after the “Nope” filmmaker inked a five-year deal with Universal in 2019 after working with the studio for his Oscar-winning directorial debut, “Get Out.”

IndieWire previously advocated for more first-look deals akin to Peele’s arrangement in editor Eric Kohn’s weekly column, which mentioned the Daniels’ existing first-look deal with “Everything Everywhere All at Once” distributor A24, though that deal only extended to TV projects. The structure of the new deal with Universal enables the filmmakers to develop projects with studio resources and would likely also allow them to produce projects from other filmmakers with Universal’s backing as Peele has been able to do.

The deal marks a win for filmmakers seeking to develop original stories at the studio level after turning down offers to work on pre-existing IP. As the Daniels first revealed to IndieWire following the premiere of their new movie at SXSW in March, they turned down an earlier opportunity to direct episodes of “Loki” for Disney+ because their own original script already had a multiverse conceit. “They were trying to do sci-fi Douglas Adams style,” Kwan said of the “Loki” concept for Disney+. “It was kind of scary getting those offers and being like, ‘Dammit, this is what we’re working on!’”

The Daniels also revealed to IndieWire that they nearly lost their designation as a director duo ahead of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” when Scheinert directed “The Death of Dick Long” solo, violating a DGA policy that official director duos must stay together. The Universal deal suggests they plan to keep doing just that.

“Daniels are creators who have evolved their craft with a distinct vision and singular voice that is unmistakable across the spectrum of content vying for viewer’s attention,” Donna Langley, chairperson of Universal film group said. “Their films are remarkably theatrical and with only two original projects under their belts, they’ve merely scratched the surface of what they are capable of as filmmakers. We’re grateful they’ve chosen to go on their journey with us.”

Daniels said in a press statement, “We’re flattered, grateful, and a bit overwhelmed. Thanks to Donna, Jimmy, Peter, Michael and their whole Universal team for believing in us and our weird movies. To all the fans, thanks for making our careers possible, we’re gonna try to not let you down.”

Daniels previously helmed Lil Jon’s viral music video for ‘Turn Down for What” before making their feature directorial debut with “Swiss Army Man” starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. Daniels were also recently announced to be directing and executive-producing the comedy pilot “Mason,” with A24 producing and Steven Yeun executive-producing the series created by comedian Nathan Min. The comedian also stars in the pilot.

“Mason” is billed as a surrealist comedy about a quiet man named Nathan, often misheard as “Mason,” who is seeking connection in a loud, overwhelming world. The series is based on the real-life experiences of comedian Min.

Showtime’s original programming EVP Amy Israel called the comedy series a “disarmingly funny and emotional project that feels like a punch to the gut in how astutely it conveys the trials and tribulations of being a human today.”

Israel added, “We can’t wait to see him team up with Daniels — who have emerged as a force with their incredible, mind-bending film that revolutionized what seemed possible on the screen — as well as the immensely multi-talented Steven Yeun and our friends at A24. ‘Mason’ has every chance of emerging as a brilliant and cathartic comedy for our viewers.”

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