HBO is giving a second life to an acclaimed show that ended far too soon. On Wednesday, the network announced plans to revive documentary series Project Greenlight, more than a decade after the program’s original run. Produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, the series involves the search for a first-time director and chronicles the behind-the-scenes process of turning a script into a feature film.
“Project Greenlight was ahead of its time,” said Affleck in a statement. “Now that technology has caught up to the concept, we thought it was a perfect time to bring it back. A whole new generation of filmmakers has grown up sharing everything, and the next big director could be just an upload away. It is really great having Project Greenlight back at HBO.”
Damon echoed those sentiments, while also emphasizing the quality of talent that’s emerged from the show. “Project Greenlight works — careers have been launched and sustained as a direct result of this contest,” he says. “Pete Jones, John Gulager, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan are just a few of the PGL alums who’ve gone on to do great things in Hollywood, and Ben and I are really proud of that.”
The series will revolve around a digital script competition in which the winner is followed along the journey of filmmaking – from pre-production and casting to principal photography to post-production. The first season featured Jones’ Stolen Summer, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; Season Two’s The Battle of Shaker Heights was written by Erica Beeney, directed by Efram Potelle and Kyle Ranki and starred breakout actors Shia LaBeouf and Amy Smart.
Affleck and Damon will reprise their role as executive producers, along with Adaptive Studios’ Marc Joubert, T.J. Barrack, Perrin Chiles and Marshall Lewy, and Miramax’s Zanne Devine. The series will be produced by Affleck and Damon’s Pearl Street Films, along with Miramax. No official return date has been announced.
Back in March, Vulture spoke to producer Chris Moore about the series, touching on its cancellation and legacy at HBO. “I think the switch from HBO to Bravo [in season three] was not a great idea for Project Greenlight,” he said. “I think it fit better in that sort of non-commercial attitude [at HBO]. So I’m not really sure there was more we could’ve done, creatively. Honestly, some of it was also us; we were a little bit tired of playing these parts of the producers.
“Matt and Ben were getting very busy in their own careers. All this other programing was putting a lot of pressure on us to adapt to the new world of reality programming: Could we make it a competition? Could we have somebody get kicked off every week? That seems to be the holy grail of a good reality show: Somebody’s getting voted off the island, as they say.”