Chloé Zhao is making her way back to Searchlight.
The studio that shepherded her third feature “Nomadland” to a Best Picture victory in 2021 has just inked a multi-year, first-look TV deal with the two-time Academy Award winner. The recently launched Searchlight Television announced the pact today, marking a homecoming for the filmmaker whose last release was 2021’s swing-for-the-fences MCU entry, “Eternals.” Through the deal, Searchlight Television will have a first look on any series for exclusive development. This also marks the writer, director, and producer’s first foray into episodic storytelling.
Prior to “Nomadland and “Eternals,” Zhao helmed Sony Pictures Classics release “The Rider” in 2017 and Kino Lorber’s “Songs My Brother Taught Me” in 2015. “Eternals” earned mixed reviews and a modest (in relative Marvel terms) box office, and while it marked her first foray into the world of studio filmmaking, it’s not her last — she is also set to take on a “Dracula” monster movie for Universal Pictures. However, the project was announced in early 2021 circa the Oscars, and no formal update has been made.
“Chloe is a visionary filmmaker and, since the moment we finished ‘Nomadland,’ we have looked to find new ways to collaborate again,” said Searchlight presidents Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum. “We are inspired by the breadth of Chloe’s storytelling passions and are beyond happy to be able to link arms and expand the opportunities to support personal, powerful, and enduring stories.”
Searchlight Television’s first production, Hulu’s “The Dropout” in partnership with 20th Television, won an Emmy Award last week for Best Actress for Amanda Seyfried, who played Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes on the series, and earned an additional five nominations.
Searchlight Television is also producing the Hulu Original variety series “History of the World, Part II,” the follow-up to the classic Mel Brooks comedy film in partnership with 20th Television; the eight-part series adaptation of “The Full Monty,” in partnership with FX and co-commissioned by Disney+ and FX; and the Spanish-Language limited series “La Máquina,” reuniting “Y Tu Mamá También” screen partners Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, both also for Hulu. The division develops and produces series for streaming, network, and cable partners.