A familiar face has joined a promising pilot filming now in Chicago. Famed American Idol frontman Ryan Seacrest has leapt aboard the one-hour dramatic pilot, but he won’t be in front of the camera. Seacrest is one of several executive producers for the pilot, and his production company, Ryan Seacrest Productions is teaming up with ABC Signature to create the episodic for the Disney-owned platform, Freeform. Filming is underway in Chicago and sources tell SCREEN the pilot will wrap on or near September 28th.
What’s in a Name?
When SCREEN broke the initial news on this pilot earlier this month, there was much buzz about the (temporary) title for the pilot. When headlines hit regarding a TV series called The Nanny starting up in Chicago, there was a wave of wonderment from 90’s sitcom enthusiasts who instantly assumed the Fran Drescher madcap comedy The Nanny was ramping up for a reboot.
However, this new television endeavor is a Hitchcockian comtemporary thriller, and Fran Drescher and her iconic laugh will be nowhere to be seen. As you might expect, the temporary title of The Nanny was quickly replaced with the much more straightforward Untitled Julie Durk Project.
And who is Julie Durk? Durk is best known for executive producing the Tom Hanks / Meg Ryan feature filmYou’ve Got Mail, and she is the writer and showrunner for this thriller pilot now filming in Chicago. Durk’s team of executive producers supporting her includes the aforementioned Seacrest and his primary business partner at Ryan Seacrest Productions, Nina Wass, whose credits include the successful Jennifer Lopez series Shades of Blue.
So Who Is The Nanny Then, Anyway?
With the title hysteria now resolved, we have to ask… who is The Nanny? The pilot centers on Elena, who at first seems like just a wholesome, friendly young woman trying to get a job as the live-in nanny to a wealthy widower and his young son at the Greybourne. But she’s not the wide-eyed innocent she seems to be. Once Elena is ensconced in this world, she’ll discover she’s not the only one with dark secrets or a hidden agenda.
Elena will be played by Andrea Londo of Narcos fame, while Warren Christie (The Village) assumes the role of the wealthy widower. Kelly Bishop (Gilmore Girls), Amy Acker (The Gifted), Jon Ecker (Firefly Lane), Lex Lumpkin (All That), Henry Joseph Samiri (The Bold and the Beautiful) and Aliyah Royale (The Walking Dead: The World Beyond) round out the cast.
Chicago Veteran Producer at the Helm
As SCREEN reported when it broke news on this pilot earlier this month, the Unit Production Manager and Co-Producer of the Untitled Julie Durk Project pilot is Chicago’s Carrie Holt de Lama, a cornerstone of the television and film production community in town. de Lama’s recent credits include Unit Production Manager of the popular Chicago-made Showtime series Work in Progress that is currently premiering new episodes every Sunday. de Lama also served as UPM of several episodes of the Emmy-nominated HBO series Lovecraft Country and Showtime’s Emmy winner Shameless.
Durk’s pilot will be directed by Jeffrey Reiner, and line produced by Raymond Quinlan.
With that whole Nanny title hubbub quelled and the cast and crew in place, all that’s left now is for Durk and her team to forge ahead through filming this promising pilot and hopefully land that series order from Freeform and the governing Disney execs.
As Untitled Julie Durk Project films through September 28th, check back here at SCREEN for updates, plus the latest on film and televison production in Chicago.