Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea’s ultimate conspiracy sci-fi/thriller Illuminatus! is coming to television courtesy of Hivemind (producers on The Expanse and The Witcher) – with Brian Taylor (HAPPY!, CRANK) and European production company Kallisti.
The Illuminati are the secret society that are behind every insane, inane, and outlandish conspiracy theory ever told – from the JFK assassination, celebrity cabals and lost continents to UFOs, ancient gods and the truth about the New World Order.
Hivemind & Brian Taylor Conspire to Bring THE ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY to Television
Subversive and Influential Sci-Fi Franchise Coming to TV from Showrunner of HAPPY! and Producers of Sony’s BLOODSHOT and Netflix’s THE WITCHER
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Hivemind today announced that it has partnered with writer/director Brian Taylor (HAPPY!, CRANK) and European production company Kallisti for a new television series based on THE ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY – the hugely influential science-fiction franchise created by authors Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea that first introduced the concept of “the Illuminati” into the popular consciousness, while simultaneously fueling, deconstructing, and skewering America’s modern-day obsession with conspiracy theories.
When the offices of a Manhattan news publisher are bombed, anti-authority reporter George Dorn begins to suspect that the disturbing conspiracy his editor has spent months investigating is not only real, it might be the key to unlocking all of history’s greatest unanswered mysteries. As George sets out to find his mentor and uncover the truth about an all-seeing secret society that seems to unify every insane, inane, and outlandish conspiracy theory ever told – from the JFK assassination, celebrity cabals and lost continents to UFOs, ancient gods and the truth about the New World Order – he finds himself drawn deeper into a war between two shadowy groups. On one side stand the Discordians, a clandestine band of chaos-loving guerrilla fighters led by the enigmatic modern-day pirate Hagbard Celine; and on the other, the Illuminati – elite authoritarians who secretly manipulate world events, ever expanding their wealth, influence, and physical power in a plot to escape the limitations of human existence.
ILLUMINATUS! will be executive produced by Dinesh Shamdasani and Hunter Gorinson for Hivemind, and Iris McPherson and Kirstin Winkler for Kallisti. Taylor will serve as executive producer and showrunner.
“ILLUMINATUS! is a kind of mind-blowing literary miracle… It manages to be completely seminal while as relevant today – if not more so – than the day it was published,” said Taylor. “Wilson and Shea have created a fractal-like world of conspiracy inside conspiracy that completely anticipates today‘s internet-fueled, Post-Truth culture.”
A globetrotting science-fiction/conspiracy thriller laced with subversive humor, ILLUMINATUS! was first published in 1975 at the height of post-Watergate paranoia and has remained in print ever since. Often ranked alongside Frank Herbert’s DUNE, Douglas Adams’ HITCHHIKERS’ GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, and William Gibson’s NEUROMANCER as one of the most influential and obsessively followed pieces of cult science fiction ever produced, references and allusions to the series have turned up everywhere from John Carpenter’s THEY LIVE to ABC’s LOST with high-profile creators such as Philip K. Dick, Alan Moore, George Carlin, Damon Lindelof, Grant Morrison, and more citing the series as an inspiration and influence.
Celebrated as a “mind-twisting science fiction…classic for more than 30 years” by the New York Times, “the ultimate conspiracy book” by the Village Voice, and the “New Testament” of the American counterculture underground by Vice, ILLUMINATUS! has spawned nearly a dozen sequels and spin-offs, along with comic books, stage plays, radio productions, role-playing games, and more based on the original trilogy. In recent years, Kallisti has also developed an immersive ILLUMINATUS! VR experience, exploring series’ many iconic characters and settings, that has exhibited at numerous arts and technology events in the United States and Europe.
“Since acquiring the rights to this wild and unique series, we have been working on an immersive experience around THE ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY and are thrilled to bring this beloved story to television. We couldn’t think of more ideal partners than Brian Taylor and Hivemind. The themes of this cult classic are more current than ever today, and we cannot wait to bring it to life,” said Kallisti partners Iris McPherson and Kirstin Winkler.
“The series’ staggering influence has only continued to grow with each passing year not just because it explores and indulges the most compelling depths of America’s conspiratorial imagination, but because it also gives us the tools and knowledge to understand it. If there was ever a series primed for 21st century television, it’s ILLUMINATUS!” said Hunter Gorinson, Hivemind’s VP of Brand & Content Strategy.
ILLUMINATUS! will mark Taylor’s next television project following HAPPY!, based on the Image Comics series and starring Christopher Meloni and Patton Oswalt, alongside left-field guest appearances by Jeff Goldblum, Ann-Margret, and musicians “Weird” Al Yankovic and Amanda Palmer. The series recently concluded its acclaimed run on Syfy with an 88% Rotten Tomatoes score for its final season. Taylor and Grant Morrison’s reimagining of Aldous Huxley’s BRAVE NEW WORLD is currently shooting for USA Network in London.
To be produced in collaboration with Kallisti, ILLUMINATUS! marks a major new addition to Hivemind’s rapidly expanding roster of high-profile film and television projects, which also includes Amazon’s acclaimed science-fiction series THE EXPANSE, which was recently renewed for a fifth season in advance of the fourth’s December 13th debut; Netflix’s much-anticipated adaptation of THE WITCHER starring Henry Cavill, debuting December 20th; and Sony Pictures’ feature film BLOODSHOT, starring Vin Diesel and Guy Pearce, in theaters February 21st, 2020.
Founded in 2018, Hivemind is dedicated to partnering with high-level creative talent and globally recognized intellectual properties from the worlds of science fiction, fantasy, horror, comic books, video games, anime, and more. The company’s current projects include the acclaimed science-fiction series THE EXPANSE, now in its fourth season, for Amazon and Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of THE WITCHER starring Henry Cavill for Netflix, as well as this summer’s SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK feature film from CBS Films and next year’s BLOODSHOT feature film, starring Vin Diesel, from Sony Pictures. Hivemind has a first-look deal with Amazon Studios for event television, and its leadership team includes former Universal Pictures president Sean Daniel, his producing partner Jason Brown, Bad Robot veteran Kathy Lingg, and former Valiant Entertainment CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. Visit them online at HivemindEnt.com.
Kallisti is an independent creative content studio that specializes in traditional, interactive and immersive storytelling. Since acquiring the film, television and interactive rights to THE ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY, Kallisti has been working on an interactive VR experience with creative direction from UK design studio amoeba. A demo VR experience based on these seminal works received rave reviews at the Rotterdam Film Festival’s Cinemart and at New Orleans Game Fete. Kallisti partners Iris McPherson, whose UK film-marketing company Filmtiki was involved in the marketing campaigns of tentpole movies such as THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, BATTLE LA and ANONYMOUS and Kirstin Winkler, an LA-based producer and former EVP of Centropolis Entertainment (10,000 BC, 2012, ANONYMOUS) will be overseeing the creative process for the studio.