Amazon, Brad Pitt, Legendary Series ‘Paper Girls’ Full Speed Ahead

It’s looking like it will be a Happy New Year for the Illinois production industry. SCREEN reported earlier this summer the highly anticipated Amazon series PAPER GIRLS may be destined for Chicago. SCREEN can now confirm this massive production will definitely land at Chicago’s Cinespace Studios, with offices opening after the winter holidays and production kicking into high gear in early 2021.

And the series has a trio of powerhouses behind it, with Amazon Studios being joined by Brad Pitt’s Oscar-winning Plan B Entertainment company (MOONLIGHT, THE DEPARTED, SELMA), and the blockbuster machine Legendary (BATMAN BEGINS, JURASSIC WORLD, LOST IN SPACE).

Once Derailed by COVID… Now Full Speed Ahead

Prior to the current pandemic that has gripped the film and television industry, PAPER GIRLS was looking likely for this past Spring in Chicago. Amazon executives and producers had toured Cinespace extensively, the first season was written, and the studio was making preparations to begin production on this massive series. The plan was for Amazon to take over FARGO stages after FX wrapped up their fourth season of the Chris Rock-led series in early 2020, and PAPER GIRLS would soon be off and running. Obviously, plans changed as production shut down nationwide earlier this year.

Jump ahead to the present, and with the FARGO shoot finally completed earlier this month and boasting a clean bill of health with zero COVID infections, Amazon Studios and PAPER GIRLS are now set to open up shop at Cinespace as soon as FX and its FARGO team wrap out. Sources tell SCREEN the PAPER GIRLS offices could open as early as November at Cinespace, but might be closer to the first week of January.

All You Need to Know About PAPER GIRLS

So what is PAPER GIRLS? “We describe it as STAND BY ME meets TERMINATOR,” said writer and co-creator Brian K. Vaughan in a past interview with Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a story about nostalgia and childhood, but with an action-packed, sci-fi bent.”

Written by Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang (WONDER WOMAN), PAPER GIRLS is a 30-issue comic series about a friend group of newspaper delivery girls who get more than they bargained for while making their routes on Halloween 1988. Caught in the midst of a conflict between warring factions of time travelers, the girls embark on an adventure through time to save the world. Vaughan and Chiang will be executive producers on the television series, alongside TOY STORY 4 writer Stephany Folsom and HALT & CATCH FIRE co-creators Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers. Folsom is also set to head up the writing team, while Cantwell and Rogers will serve as co-showrunners.

“As huge fans of what Brian and Cliff created in PAPER GIRLS, we couldn’t be more excited by the opportunity to bring this incredible adventure to life,” Folsom, Cantwell, and Rogers said in a group statement. “This is a story with so much heart, and so many unique colors and dimensions – our sincere hope is not only to do justice to the source material, but to make PAPER GIRLS unlike anything else currently on TV.”

For a deep dive into what you might expect to see from this original Amazon series, take a look at leading pop culture critic Matt Draper’s deep dive into Vaughan and Chiang’s comic series, exploring its themes of nostalgia, maturity, and what it means to make the most of our short lives:

There are many more announcements ahead for PAPER GIRLS, and as those developments surface, please check back here at Screen Magazine for the latest updates on this Amazon series.

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