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Since the end of AMC’s Mad Men two years ago, Hollywood has patiently been awaiting the next project from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. In October, he finally announced the development of his new series The Romanoffs which will be an anthology series in which all episodes involve a different family who believe themselves to be descendants of the famous Russian royal family. After an intense bidding war between major studios, the series ended up at Amazon, with The Weinstein Company was also signed on to co-produce, but it seems that since then the Weinstein Company have stepped away from the project. This week, Weiner finally revealed more details about his upcoming series in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
One of the first questions many had about was why the title has two ‘f ‘s rather than one ‘v’, which has become the common spelling of the surname of the last imperial family to rule Russia. Weiner’s spelling choice of ‘The Romanoffs’ versus ‘The Romanovs’ reflects the pronunciation as well as the way the family name was commonly spelled until recently.
In the interview he stated that all eight episodes of the season will have “a different cast, a different story and a different location”. Compared to Mad Men which was a serial television series, this format seemed to excite Weiner as it puts pressure on the writers to create storylines and characters that ‘really commit’, as they will not be returning the next week. Weiner said that they are open to the idea of a second season if the series goes well.
The budget was originally reported to be $70 million, but Weiner has confirmed that it will fall more near $50 million for the entire season, translating to about $6.25 million allotted per episode. Weiner also expressed his plans to shoot four episodes here in the US, and four episodes in countries abroad.
Weiner expressed hopes that because of the structure, he will be able to get bigger stars, as they will only have to commit to one episode. The British show Black Mirror has had success with this structure, getting stars such as Bryce Dallas Howard, Rupert Everett, Domhnall Gleeson, Daniel Kaluuya, Toby Kebbell, and Mad Men’s own Jon Hamm.
The cast for The Romanoffs has not yet been set, as the writers room just started a few weeks ago, but once the first few episodes’ scripts are completed, casting for the series will begin.
Mad Men producers Semi Chellas, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Blake McCormick, and Matthew Weiner will be returning to help Weiner as executive producers.
Weiner’s series Mad Men won four consecutive Emmy wins for best drama series. Prior to Mad Men, he spend three seasons as a writer/producer for the acclaimed series The Sopranos. Weiner himself has won a total of nine Emmys to date (2 for The Sopranos and 7 for Mad Men).
In his spare time, Weiner has also been pursuing other projects as well. Weiner’s first feature film, Are You Here, premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, and was released in 2014. Last year, he directed one episode of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, and this fall will be releasing his first novel Heather, The Totality.