HBO Max’s next original series A World of Calm will “combine mesmeric imagery with narration by A-list stars,” according to a recent WarnerMedia press release. Academy Award winner Kate Winslet (Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Priyanka Chopra-Jonas (Quantico, Don) recently joined the all-star voice roster, as reported by WarnerMedia. Other narrators viewers can expect to hear from during the first ten-episode season include Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Matrix), Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies, The Hours), Zoë Kravitz (Big Little Lies, High Fidelity), Idris Elba (Luther, Thor), Lucy Liu (Elementary, Charlie’s Angels), and Mahershala Ali (True Detective, Moonlight), Media Play News reports.
A World of Calm is based on Calm Sleep Stories, a premium feature of the relaxation app Calm. The app’s official website describes Sleep Stories as “soothing tales that mix music, sound FX and incredible voice talent” to aid in the release of nocturnal tension. While Calm sources texts from a variety of familiar sources, including classical fairytales and ancient mythology, the app has its own Sleep Storytellers-in-Residence, Chris Advansun and Phoebe Smith. When CBC News interviewed Advansun, he named the number-one challenge that comes with writing Sleep Stories: “The goal is for the listener to not get to the end. Which, as a writer of stories, is a little strange… But I have started to really appreciate what our stories do for people. I get letters from people who tell me, ‘I adore your stories. I never get to the end.’ ” Advansun was the subject of a field piece by The National in 2018.
Phoebe Smith, meanwhile, was best known as a travel journalist before she got her position at Calm, according to The Guardian. Smith was initially approached by Calm co-founder Michael Acton Smith in 2017 about turning her article about the Trans-Siberian Railway into “a story to send people to sleep,” as reported by The Guardian. Michael Acton Smith has been listed as an executive producer on A World of Calm, along with writer Advansun, WarnerMedia reports. Calm announced on Twitter that the latest Sleep Story, “Crossing Ireland By Train” is a Smith creation narrated by Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders, 28 Days Later).
— Phoebe Smith (@PhoebeRSmith) September 17, 2020
Visuals for A World of Calm will be handled by Nutopia. The award-winning production company has been behind large-scale non-fiction programs like National Geographic’s One Strange Rock, the Story of Us franchise, and the upcoming fitness docuseries Limitless, hosted by Chris Hemsworth (Blackhat, Extraction, Thor).
A World of Calm premieres on October 1st on HBO Max. The Calm app can be downloaded for free from most major app stores. Monthly subscriptions are priced at $14.99 a month and annual subscriptions can be purchased for $69.99. A one-stop payment plan of $399.99 is also available to those interested in lifetime access to Calm Sleep Stories, meditation soundscapes, mindfulness training sessions and more.