Blumhouse Television and UCP, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios, are adapting Leigh Whannell’s 2018 sci-fi, thriller Upgrade into a television series for Whannell to direct.
The series, which Whannell co-created and will executive produce along with showrunner Tim Walsh (Treadstone, Chicago P.D., Shooter), picks up a few years after the events of the film and broadens the universe with an evolved version of STEM and a new host – imaging a world in which the government repurposes STEM to help curb criminal activity.
A writer’s room has commenced to write and adapt the series’ first season. Krystal Ziv Houghton and James Roland, who ran the second season of The Purge, have joined Whannell and Walsh.
The film, which Whannell wrote and directed, starred Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel and Harrison Gilbertson. In the film, after his wife is killed during a brutal mugging that also leaves him paralyzed, Grey Trace (Marshall-Green) is approached by a billionaire inventor with an experimental cure in the form of a computer chip implant called STEM. The implant provides its host with heightened physical abilities, allowing Grey to exact revenge on those responsible for his wife’s death. The film was produced for $5 million and grossed more than $16 million at the global box office. It was also the recipient of the 2018 SXSW Audience Award.
Leigh Whannell most recently directed The Invisible Man starring Elisabeth Moss for Blumhouse and Universal. The box office smash grossed over $122 million globally and is Certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes with a 91%. Previously, he wrote the first three Saw films, co-creating the lucrative horror franchise with director James Wan. Whannell recently signed a first-look deal with Blumhouse for both film and television, after successful collaborations with the studio on the Insidious franchise, Upgrade, and The Invisible Man. The Upgrade series is the first project to be developed under that deal.
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