Christopher Newman, who has been with the HBO hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones since its premiere in 2011, is looking for his next big project as the song of ice and fire nears its final movement. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Newman has found his new focus, but can’t seem to escape the allure of power and politics, as he sets to explore the history of Wu Zetian, China’s only female Empress.
Empress will be a 13 episode drama that will tell the tale Wu Zetian, the former concubine of Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty, who after his death married his 9th son, Emperor Gaozong, and gained the title of empress. Following Gaozong’s severely debilitating stroke, Wu Zetian would gain power and establish the brief Second Zhou Dynasty and reign as emperor from 690 to 705. Wu Zetian was known for her political prowess and ruthless and cunning nature while in power, yet she was also praised for her intelligence, wit, and humor. The series will follow her incredible journey from concubine to ultimate authority of China.
Newman will develop and produce the series following a deal with K. Jam Media and Starlight Media who will also be producing the series, with Starlight fully financing the series which is estimated to have a budget of $70 Million. Newman will also share executive producer duties with Starlight Media Chairman Xu Yan, CEO Peter Luo, Beely Lee, and K. Jam Media CEO Kia Jam. When asked about the project Yan stated “I am very happy to announce this partnership and am looking forward to working with this excellent creative team to bring the story of the Empress Wu to a global audience”. Kia Jam added “my partner Chris and I have already started to assemble a world-class team and are thrilled to be in business with our friends at Starlight Media. The story of the empress is a story of intrigue, history and power that provides a deep storytelling well that we hope will have numerous seasons to follow.”
The series is expected to be shopped to broadcast networks by K. Jam Media following the completion of filming. No cast has been set for the series, but production is set to commence sometime in late 2017 in Sichuan, China. Empress is aiming for 2018 premiere.