Based on Lucy Kirkwood's critically-acclaimed and Olivier Award-winning stage play, Chimerica is a powerful and thrilling series that explores not just the relationship between East and West, but also some of the most urgent issues affecting society today.
Set against the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential election, the original play has been updated to reflect the giddying political changes of the last two years, the series will bring into even sharper focus vital issues such as fake news, the undermining of political protest, the battle between present and future superpowers, the future of democracy itself, and our growing ease with the manipulation of fact and image.
Chimerica will be a resonant exploration of our slide into a post-truth world, scrutinising the way we live now, as we wade through unprecedented amounts of information, ill-equipped to know which parts of it are true, or lock ourselves in echo chambers full of people who already agree with us.
The series will be directed by William Oldroyd in his television debut.
William's feature film Lady Macbeth was one of the most nominated British independent films of the last year, winning five British Independent Film Awards, and is currently nominated for Best British Film and Outstanding Debut at this year's BAFTAs. William is the second ever British nominee for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director.
Lucy Kirkwood, writer, said:
"Since I wrote the original play in 2013, the questions it raises have only acquired greater scale and relevance for us all. It was thrilling for me to return to the story of two men, one American and one Chinese, trying to work out how to respond to the outrages of an increasingly outrageous world, and look through their eyes at our changing relationship with journalism, power, protest, and images themselves.
"I feel especially lucky to have William at the helm, and am very excited to have the chance to collaborate with him on this epic, international story."
Beth Willis, Head of Drama at Channel 4, said:
"It is such a privilege to have Lucy's blisteringly brilliant voice on Channel 4. She picks away at the complexities of truth and of friendship in a way that is utterly gripping and illuminating. This is a treasure of a show and we are so proud to be working with Playground on it."
Ian Katz, Director of Programmes at Channel 4, said:
"Lucy's play was searingly relevant, thought-provoking and compulsive. I'm thrilled that we've been able to bring it to a TV audience, and to have such a fresh and exciting voice on the channel."
Sophie Gardiner, Executive Producer, said:
"Lucy Kirkwood's writing always speaks to the most contemporary and urgent of questions, with wit, and warmth and character. We are thrilled that director William Oldroyd will be the one to realise that most unique vision, and for it to have such a supportive home at Channel 4. It is the next and exciting step on Playground's journey of providing smart and entertaining television drama."
Colin Callender, Executive Producer, said:
"We're delighted to be producing this with Channel 4. This is exactly the sort of contemporary thought provoking drama that embodies the channel's DNA. Everyone at Playground is very appreciative of the support from Channel 4 and all3media in bringing this timely drama to the screen."
Chimerica was commissioned for Channel 4 by Beth Willis, Head of Drama, and Simon Maxwell, Head of International Drama. The series will be distributed globally by all3media International.
The series is produced by Playground (Wolf Hall, Howards End, Little Women) with Colin Callender and Sophie Gardiner as Executive Producers.
Lucy Kirkwood will also serve as an Executive Producer. The producer is Adrian Sturges (Fearless, The Enfield Haunting, The Disappearance of Alice Creed).
Filming will commence in 2018 with TX and casting details to be announced at a later date.