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The ‘Veep’ Creator’s Next Target: Superhero Franchises

Armando Iannucci truly saw the future with Veep. The HBO comedy felt like ruthless satire of American politics when it premiered in 2012 and then seemed eerily prescient by 2019 when it took its final bow, its cast of terrible, corrupt, power hungry individuals looking relatively competent compared to reality. Now, Iannucci is prepping to start slinging spitwads at his text target: superhero movies.

HBO has ordered The Franchise, which Iannucci is writing and will follow “a hopeful crew trapped inside the dysfunctional, nonsensical, joyous hellscape of franchise superhero movie-making. If and when they finally make the day, the question they must face—is this Hollywood’s new dawn or cinema’s last stand? Is this a dream factory or a chemical plant?”

The pilot will be directed by the great Sam Mendes (no stranger to franchises, given the multiple James Bond movies he has under his belt) and was co-written by Succession‘s Jon Brown and Ten Percent‘s Keith Akushie.

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Love or hate the superhero movie boom, there is undeniably plenty of meat on the bone for satire here. From the legal teams who have to figure out which mutants, aliens, gods and monsters belong to which comic book company to the actors who get a crash course in six-ish decades of Marvel and DC’s convoluted universes before facing the Comic-Con crowds, cinema’s dominant genre is ripe for satire. And few are more able satirists than Iannucci who, in addition to Veep, also wrote and directed 2019’s excellent Personal History of David Copperfield and 2017’s deliriously funny Death of Stalin which was, you guessed it, based on a comic book.

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