The Secret History of Hollywood is easily my favorite podcast to listen to. It’s just such a beautifully-written and well-produced podcast that dives into the history of Hollywood. It was created by Adam Roche, and I knew it was only a matter of time before someone in the entertainment industry jumped at the chance to bring these stories that the podcast tells to life on the big screen.
Writer-producer Laeta Kalogridis and New Republic Pictures’ President Bradley Fischer have picked up the film and television rights to the entire library of Adam Roche’s podcast. This deal includes the 11 existing seasons of the podcast, as well as any future seasons of the series.
The creative team plans to “approach the podcast as individual seasons and will develop each story as its own piece of IP.” The debut season of the podcast is titled Shadows, and it will be the focus of the first project under the deal and it will be developed as a feature film.
Shadows focuses on the life of Val Lewton, “a gifted immigrant producer who began his Hollywood career as the right-hand man of David O. Selznick, and who rescued the fortunes of RKO Studios by devising a revolutionary approach to horror movies – defying the conventional schlock formula to create a brooding, artistic body of work that has gone on to inspire and influence cinema ever since.”
This is such a great story, and Lewton is one of my favorite filmmakers. He was completely underrated. While I’m happy that this story is being developed as a film, the story really needs to told through a ten-episode limited series. But hey, I’ll take what I can get.
The script for the film will be written by Kalogridis and Roche, who are both executive producers on the project. Fischer is also executive producing, and this project reunited him with Kalogridis, who previously collaborated on Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island.
Roche said in a statement, “Bringing The Secret History of Hollywood podcast to life on screen is a dream come true. I could not be happier to be doing so alongside Laeta and Bradley, who are both such incredible and encouraging creative partners. The films and artistry of Val Lewton have always inspired and moved me in profound ways. To be taking this maiden voyage with Laeta, Bradley and Mr Lewton, is an honor indeed”
Kalogridis added, “I am thrilled to be working with Adam and Brad on a project so close to my heart. Adam’s podcast celebrates so many Hollywood figures both famous and forgotten— people like brilliant producer (and immigrant) Val Lewton, groundbreaking female screenwriter Ardel Wray, Calypso legend Sir Lancelot, pioneering Black actress Theresa Harris, and countless others. Adam’s podcast is a revelation and the perfect material to mine Hollywood’s drama behind the dramas.”
Fischer went on to say, “I’m so excited to be reuniting with Laeta on this epic adaptation of Adam Roche’s brilliant dramatic deep-dive into Hollywood’s little known and wildly entertaining histories, its unlikely heroes and larger than life pioneers whose remarkable true stories have – incredibly – never been told on screen. Adam’s multi-season podcast is an absolute treasure trove of storytelling and research, which Laeta and I along with my partners at New Republic are so grateful to Adam for entrusting to us.”
I can’t wait to see how these films turn out! Below is the complete list of stories that will be developed from podcast series:
Season 1 – The Game Is Afoot – The story of Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, their legendary Sherlock Holmes film series, and the real-life friendship that bound them together.
Season 2 – Sex In Monochrome – A guide through Hollywood’s infamous “pre-code” era, a time when even the wildest risks were being taken by a lawless industry bound only by the limits of its imagination.
Season 3 – Hunting Witches With Walt Disney – The tale of Hollywood’s civil war, when neighbor turned upon neighbor, led by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and the ever-present threat of the blacklist…
Season 4 – A Universe Of Horrors – The complex tale of Hollywood’s most renowned horror franchise, the Universal Horrors, and the characters who brought to life the screen’s most iconic nightmares.
Season 5 – The Adventures Of Alfred Hitchcock – The life story of the 20th century’s most influential director – his triumphs and failures – and the complicated inner turmoil that helped, and hindered, his rise to the top.
Season 6 – Bullets And Blood – The story of the Warner Brothers – an immigrant family who escaped a violent beginning, and arrived penniless in America, only to conquer its newest and most lucrative art form.
Season 7 – Audrey: The Girl Before The Girl – The life of Audrey Hepburn began not upon the screen, but amid a world torn apart by the storm of war, and alongside the legacy of a dark family secret.
Season 8 – Death On Alvarado Street – Exploring the mystifying, twisted true-life 1920’s murder case of William Desmond Taylor – including the many suspects and motives, as well as the real investigation into the crime by one Hollywood’s own…
Season 9 – Cary – The extraordinary story of Archie Leach, known to the world as Cary Grant, which began with a boy from broken beginnings who found his way to the heavens of Hollywood itself.
Season 10 – Queens Of Cinema – Illuminating the lives and times of the pioneering women behind cinema history’s more innovative and inspiring chapters.