Apple has struck an exclusive first-look deal with Catastrophe and Divorce creator Sharon Horgan.
Deadline understands that the company inked the multi-year deal in London this morning and it covers all future projects Horgan writes. This comes after Horgan’s deal with Amazon came to an end.
The deal has been signed out of Apple's UK division and was overseen by Jay Hunt, the former Channel 4 content chief who is creative director, Europe, Worldwide Video. Hunt first commissioned Catastrophe, the C4/Amazon comedy that Horgan and Rob Delaney wrote and starred in for four seasons. Hunt is part of the international content development team that reports to Apple video chiefs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg.
It marks the first major talent deal to come out of Europe for Apple, which has been signing up overall deals with the likes of Roma's Alfonso Cuarón, The Morning Show’s Kerry Ehrin Friday Night Lights' Jason Katims and Fast & Furious' Justin Lin.
The Apple contract is separate to the agreement that Comcast-backed Sky struck earlier this month with Merman, Horgan’s production company with Clelia Mountford. The Sky deal was a two-year overhead and development funding and first-look distribution agreement, which will see NBCUniversal Global Distribution handle international sales on certain projects.
Horgan has had a busy year; in addition to Catastrophe ending, she landed a pilot order for Shining Vale, a half-hour horror comedy with Trial & Error co-creator Jeff Astrof, and an HBO Max pilot order for Deliah, a half-hour comedy starring Jessica Rothe La La Land. Both of these projects have been set with Aaron Kaplan's Kapital Entertainment, a frequent collaborator with Horgan.
Elsewhere, Amazon gave a script-to-series commitment to a comedy series that she will likely star in alongside Game Night co-star Billy Magnussen, and the SVOD service is developing Dirty, a morally complex drama in association with Peaky Blinders producer Caryn Mandabach Productions, Kapital Entertainment and Safe writer Danny Brocklehurst.
Horgan is also working on an animated comedy Therapy Dog for Fox and wrote and directed an episode of Amazon's Modern Love for Tina Fey and John Slattery.
In features, she stars in the forthcoming Military Wives, alongside Kristin Scott Thomas, she is making her feature directorial debut on Focus Features' drama New World and she is writing female-fronted drama Herself, set against the housing crisis, with The Favourite producer Element Pictures.
Sharon was recently cast in drama-comedy feature film The Last Drop alongside Vincent Vaughn, due to commence filming in early 2020, and the feature film adaptation of West End show Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, alongside Richard E. Grant and Sarah Lancashire, and Beards, an Irish comedy-drama film set during the mid-90's of two closeted teenagers who stage a relationship to stop speculation about their sexuality.
Horgan told Deadline in June that certain projects she is keen to write and direct, others she prefers to star in, then she can flex different muscles by producing through Merman. “Writing is something that's with me all of the time. I'm always kind of writing. That's in my DNA. But at the same time, the acting thing, if I go too without doing it, I do feel a bit crazy, it is a relief to go off and be someone else for a while and with the producing, I just find it very hard not to get excited about talented people and I want to work with them and make what they have in their heads.”
On Friday, April 3, Apple TV+ releases all 10 episodes of the first season of its mystery-thriller “Home Before Dark.” Inspired by the life of Hilde Lysiak, a young journalist who gained national notoriety at age nine when she scooped a local homicide case in her Pennsylvania hometown, the Jon M. Chu-directed and executive produced series has already been renewed for a second season.
Created and executive produced by Dana Fox and Dara Resnick, “Home Before Dark” follows Brooklynn Prince as Hilde Lysko, a nine-year-old journalist whose family's cross-country move from New York to her father's Jim Sturgess small Washington hometown leads her to investigate a dark, deeply buried mystery from decades ago.
IndieWire spoke with “Home Before Dark” co-showrunner and co-creator Dana Fox about the series, from the process of making a bingeable mystery-thriller she hadn’t seen before to her transition from comedy to drama to the unexpected “Justified” reunion.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Joy Gorman Wettels, Jim Sturgess, Dana Fox, Brooklynn Prince, Hilde Lysiak, Jon M. Chu, Dara Resnik at the Winter 2020 TCA Press Tour
Getty Images/David Livingston/Stringer
IndieWire: How exactly did you come to co-create “Home Before Dark”? How did you come to Hilde Lysiak’s story?
Fox: Basically, my dear friend Joy Gorman Wettels, who’s an amazing producer — she was my manager for a long time and then she started producing, as well — she was at the Tribeca Awards, and there were a bunch of adults winning awards for cool things. And then, this little nine-year-old girl stood up and gave this incredible speech and was incredibly poised. She started talking about the need for journalists and how important it was to try to find the truth, and it really resonated with Joy. We weren’t even deeply in the times that we are in now, but it’s something that was feeling important already.
And so Joy was talking to the people next to her about how extraordinary this little girl was, and it turned out to be Hilde’s parents. So she joked, “I have a five-year-old, can you come move in with me, and help me raise my daughter, because this girl is amazing.” And so they struck up a conversation, they got along, and eventually, Hilde was featured in the New York Times for essentially scooping her local paper on a murder.
Joy was in a very competitive situation with a lot of other producers and they were all talking to Hilde and her parents on the phone and they had all these conversations. Joy ended up winning the rights and when she did, afterwards she said, “Why did you pick me?” And Hilde’s...