Apple Has Already Canceled The Richard Gere-Starring Dark Drama 'Bastards'

Apple TV+ hasn't launched yet, but it's already had its first casualty. Bastards, an eight-episode dark drama set to star Richard Gere, has been canceled by Apple, making the project its first Apple TV+ cancellation. But judging by insane premise, which is based on a dark Israeli drama, that may be for the best.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Bastards is the first Apple TV+ cancellation, scrapped after showrunners Howard Gordon and Warren Leight (Law and Order: SVU) clashed with Apple over the show's approach on vigilante justice. The series, which was picked up straight to series last year, follows "two elderly Vietnam veterans and best friends who find their monotonous lives upended when a woman they both loved 50 years ago is killed by a car. Their lifelong regrets and secrets collide with their resentment of today's self-absorbed millennials, and the duo then go on a shooting spree."

Yes, you read that right. This is a show about Baby Boomers who set out on mass shootings of young people because of a murderous car. Perhaps it's a story that in the right hands could become a razor-sharp black comedy (though that's if it's in the right hands), but this is probably the wrong time for any kind of story that has mass shooters as its protagonists, even if it's a series that targets the "selfish" generation that everyone loves to hate. The series was apparently poised to be Gere's highest-profile TV role too.

The outrageous premise aside, Bastards seems like an odd fit for Apple, which seems to be promoting its brand of "aspirational" storytelling with its line-up of original titles. It's no wonder that Apple sent Gordon and Leight, who are co-writing the series, notes to focus "on the larger metaphor of friendship between the two vets," according to THR. But Gordon and Leight, apparently out for blood, wanted to focus on the "darker elements" of the series. Fox 21 executives backed Gordon, a veteran producer, and soon he and Leight exited the project.

I'm still baffled that Bastards could be picked up straight to series at all, let alone be at the center of a heated bidding competition with multiple other outlets. But now that Apple has scrapped the project, Bastards remains without a home without a clear idea of where it will head next.