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HBO Max Orders Dark Comedy, Picks Up Charm City Kings

HBO Max has acquired worldwide rights to 2020 Sundance award winner Charm City Kings, which will be released under the upcoming platform’s Warner Max label, and the streaming service has also ordered 10 episodes of the single-camera Untitled Aniello, Downs, Statsky project.

Charm City Kings won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for its cast that includes Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Meek Mill, Will Catlett, Donielle Hansley, Kezii Curtis, Chino, Lakeyria “Wheelie Queen” Doughty and Teyonah Parris.

In the film, Mouse (Di’Allo Winston) desperately wants to join The Midnight Clique, an infamous group of Baltimore dirt bike riders who rule the summertime streets. When Midnight’s leader, Blax (Meek Mill), takes 14-year-old Mouse under his wing, Mouse soon finds himself torn between the straight-and-narrow and a road filled with fast money and violence.

“Charm City Kings is such an exciting and vibrant visual experience that we are thrilled to debut on HBO Max. The filmmakers and electric cast have put together something truly special,” says Executive Vice President of Original Films, Jessie Henderson.

Charm City Kings was directed by Angel Manuel Soto and written by Sherman Payne, with a story by Chris Boyd & Kirk Sullivan and Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins. The film is produced by Caleeb Pinkett, Clarence Hammond and Marc Bienstock.

Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith and James Lassiter executive produced through their company Overbrook Entertainment. Sony Pictures Classics was set to release the film in theaters for Sony Pictures Entertainment on April 10, 2020.

Dark comedy the Untitled Aniello, Downs, Statsky project is created and written by Broad City alums Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello and Jen Statsky, and executive produced by the trio alongside Michael Schur.

Emmy Award-winning actress Jean Smart has been cast to star in the comedy series, which will explore a dark mentorship that forms between a Las Vegas diva (Smart) and an entitled, outcast 25-year-old.

“When this dream team came to us, we jumped at the chance to develop this project, which features two complex female characters working in comedy and facing the professional and personal challenges that come along with it. When Jean Smart came aboard, we were even more delighted to move forward,” said Sarah Aubrey, Head of Original Content, HBO Max. “We’re excited to be working with this winning combination of talent and confident the show will fit perfectly into our robust slate of HBO Max Originals.”

“I am so thrilled to be making this show with our incredible partners at HBO Max and Universal TV, and it is a dream to write for the incomparable Jean Smart,” said Paul W. Downs. “It is an honor and a privilege to craft and portray complex, female characters. For far too long, male voices dominated the space, both on-and-off screen, and thankfully that has finally changed. I’m sure Lucia and Jen agree, but unfortunately, they only gave us this much room for a quote. Sorry girls!”

Downs was an executive producer, writer and co-star on Broad City and a consulting producer on Comedy Central’s The Other Two. Aniello was an executive producer, writer and director on Broad City; is executive producer of Comedy Central’s Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens; and is executive producing and directing Netflix’s upcoming The Baby-Sitters Club.

Downs and Aniello also previously collaborated on the film Rough Night, which Downs starred in, Aniello directed and they co-wrote. Statsky was a co-executive producer and writer on Broad City, as well as NBC’s The Good Place, for which she was nominated for an Emmy. Her previous writing credits include NBC’s Parks and Recreation, Netflix’s Lady Dynamite and Amazon’s Forever.

Jean Smart is the recipient of three Emmys and an additional five nominations, as well as a Tony nomination, Grammy nomination and Critics’ Choice Awards win. Her credits include HBO’s Watchmen, FX’s Fargo, A Simple Favor, and the upcoming Superintelligence with Melissa McCarthy for HBO Max and Mare of Easttown alongside Kate Winslet for HBO.

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