Arlington Road TV series

Director Mark Pellington is taking another trip to Arlington Road.

Pellington, who directed the original 1999 paranoia thriller, is coming back to direct an Arlington Road TV series that’s reportedly in the “early stages of development” at the newly rebranded streaming service Paramount+. The film was about a professor who suspects his neighbors of being domestic terrorists – a topic which, sadly, feels all too relevant in 2021.

According to Deadline, The Alienist co-executive producer Seth Fisher is writing the TV series adaptation and executive producing with Pellington, who plans to direct. CBS Studios and Village Roadshow Television are co-producing.

The original movie was written by Ehren Kruger, who went on to write The Ring, Top Gun: Maverick, and a trio of Transformers movies; his script was so good that it earned Kruger the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Nicholl Fellowship in 1996. Three years later, the movie was made with Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, and Hope Davis in the lead roles, and behind the camera, Pellington was able to capture a similar sense of anxiety and paranoia that ran through so many American films of the 1970s. Here’s the trailer for the movie, which gives away much more than I’d like (but is still a pretty great trailer):

Remember when audiences were practically given an all-you-can-eat buffet of these kinds of mid-budget studio movies? I didn’t appreciate that era enough when I was living in it.

In any case, as obnoxious as it can be for studios to mine their own libraries for new “content,” it’s easy to understand why Paramount+ wants to tap into this particular project right now. It’s been just over three months since a ragged horde of disgruntled right wing voters ransacked the United States Capitol building and killed someone there. I fear we may eventually learn that one of the downsides to everyone staying inside over the past year due to COVID is that lots of people had time to become radicalized by YouTube videos and false conspiracies. The idea of domestic terrorism is nothing new (the spate of incidents in the 1990s is what inspired the movie in the first place), but it seems to have entered the mainstream in a way it never has before.

A show about a man who’s convinced his neighbors are extremists is likely courting controversy, but I suspect as long as Paramount+ sees its subscriber count go up, it won’t care too much if Fox News gives the show a week of free publicity by complaining about its existence.

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