Filming of new JJ Abrams project scrapped in Belfast

Filming of new JJ Abrams project scrapped in Belfast

THE FILMING of a new JJ Abrams project, whose previous work includes Star Wars and Lost, which was due to take place in Belfast has been scrapped.

Abrams' sci-fi drama Demimonde was set to be broadcast on the HBO network, which is the home of previous TV hits such as Game of Thrones and The Sopranos.

However, as the Hollywood Reporter reported this week, HBO made the decision to part ways with the project due to budgetary constraints, with Abrams reportedly seeking a budget north of $200 million.

By comparison, HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon clocked in at less than $200 million.

Abrams was also slated to direct the pilot for Demimonde, which had already changed showrunners since it landed at HBO in 2018 following a bidding war with Apple.

Crew had already started working on the project at the Titanic Studios in Belfast, but were recently sent home while negotiations took place between Abrams and HBO and production company Bad Robot.

It was expected that the show would be in the studios for more than a year, and was expected to provide work for around 600 people.

The chief executive of NI Screen, Richard Williams, told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme “there is no way of dressing it up as good news”

“It isn’t good news, and there were a lot of people in the supply chain, freelancers who were expecting to be working on that project, for this year and maybe into future years.

“At the same time, we have had this happen before, we had a project drop out just before lockdown and we replaced it with Dungeons and Dragons, basically we’ll have to do that again – we'll have to go out to the market and find another project.”

Demimode, starring Danielle Deadwyler (Station Eleven, Watchmen), will now be shopped by producers Warner Bros. Television to streamers including Apple and Netflix — platforms where Abrams has other shows in the works.