‘Stranger Things’ creators hire BBC America alum for new prodco, plan franchise under Netflix deal

Stranger Things

Matt and Ross Duffer, creators and showrunners of Netflix’s horror hit Stranger Things, have launched a new production company as part of their overall deal with the global streamer and hired a former BBC America exec to help run it.

Upside Down Pictures will be led by former MRC and BBC America exec Hilary Leavitt (Orphan Black, Ozark), who was until recently on an overall producing deal with Hulu to develop and produce new shows via her Blazer banner.

Leavitt had previously spent three years at MRC, where she worked on shows including Netflix’s Ozark, and before that had worked at BBC America on Orphan Black and The Last Kingdom, among others.

Upside Down slate

The Duffers prodco, meanwhile, has unveiled a raft of shows in active development including the recently teased live-action Stranger Things spin-off, which it is now confirmed will be produced by Upside Down and Shawn Levy-led Stranger Things producer 21 Laps.

Other projects on the slate include a live-action TV adaptation of the Japanese manga and anime series Death Note and a series adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub’s novel The Talisman, from Curtis Gwimm, to be produced alongside Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and Paramount Television.

Upside Down is also working on an original series from creators Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, who were behind Netflix and the Jim Henson Company’s 2019 series Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance.

The company is also planning to create a new stage play set within the world and mythology of Stranger Things, produced Sonia Friedman, Stephen Daldry and Netflix. Daldry will also direct, while 21 Laps will serve as associate producer.

According to the Duffer brothers, Upside Down Pictures will “aim to create the kind of stories that inspired [them] growing up – stories that take place at that beautiful crossroads where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, where big spectacle co-exists with intimate character work, where heart wins out over cynicism.”

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