‘Upgrade’ TV Series in Development from Blumhouse Television and UCP
Today, it was announced that 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. For those not familiar with Upgrade, it is a sci-fi/action film that showcases what it would be like if The Six Million Dollar Man met John Wick.
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.
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%. Whannell previously wrote the first three Saw films, co-creating the lucrative horror franchise with Aquaman 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.
Jason Blum (Halloween, The Good Lord Bird) and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones from Automatik will executive produce alongside Whannell and Walsh. Whannell and Walsh co-created the series. The series is a co-production between Blumhouse Television and UCP.
Blumhouse Television and UCP previously co-produced USA Network’s The Purge series as well as the upcoming The Wilderness of Error for FX.