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Showtime orders Ben Stiller drama

Scripted-logo-460_2Ben StillerUS cable channel Showtime has ordered a limited series drama that Hollywood actor Ben Stiller will direct.

Escape at Dannemora will run to eight hour-long episodes, and star Benicio del Toro (Traffic), Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) and Paul Dano (There Will be Blood).

Stiller (Zoolander 2, Tropic Thunder) will direct the series and is executive producer, alongside production partner Nicky Weinstock, writers Brett Johnson (Mad Men) and Michael Tolkin (The Player) and Bryan Zuriff (Ray Donovan), Michael De Luca (The Social Network).

De Luca’s Michael De Luca Productions and Stiller’s indie, Red Hour Productions, are attached as coproducers.

Escape at Dannemora will play an artistic yet intimidating convicted murderer who orchestrates a prison break in upstate New York, with Dano playing a reluctant partner in the plot. Arquette plays a prison tailor shop supervisor who becomes sexually involved with both and assists them with the escape.

The show is based on real life events that occurred in 2015 in and around Clinton Correctional prison, ending in a massive manhunt. Production begins later this year on actual locations related to the story.

Showtime is positioning the show as its next high-profile limited series after the rebooted Twin Peaks, which launched last month.

CBS Corp.-owned Showtime claims Twin Peaks has led to a record number of streaming service sign ups.

“We are all very intent on trying to tell this singular story in a way that shows the reality and humanity of the people involved,” said Stiller.

“While the genre is a prison escape story, at its core it is a story about real people, some criminals and some not, who make some bad choices that have huge consequences. I think that’s what’s so compelling about this.”