By Nellie Andreeva. Deadline; October 24, 2014 2:35pm.
With filming on the upcoming eight-episode Starz drama series Flesh And Bone completed, the pay cable network has decided to air the project as a limited series. The format switch will require no script changes, reshoots or additional footage, with the eight episodes airing as originally written and the current finale standing as a suitable conclusion to the limited series.
Created/executive produced by Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad) and executive produced by Lawrence Bender, Kevin Brown and John Melfi, Flesh And Bone is described as a dark and gritty drama that unflinchingly explores the dysfunction and glamour of the ballet world and follows a young ballet dancer, Claire (Sarah Hay), who has a distinctly troubled past, as she joins a prestigious ballet company in New York.
“Moira is one of the most talented auteurs in television today, and the work she and her team have done on Flesh And Bone is nothing short of spectacular,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement to Deadline. “It is a tremendous undertaking to mix drama and dance, all the while keeping the world and story as authentic as possible, and Moira has accomplished this brilliantly.
“After seeing all the film, we realized this is not serialized television, but rather an eight-hour movie with a satisfying end for the audience. Therefore, we believe the best way to present Flesh And Bone is as a limited series. This format has been incredibly successful for Starz in terms of viewership, critical acclaim and awards recognition, and is the new growing format for true auteur-driven storytelling in premium TV today.”
Starz has had commercial and critical success with event-type limited series/miniseries, including the 10-episode The White Queen and six-episode Dancing On The Edge, both nominated in the best movie/miniseries category at the Golden Globes.
“I am grateful for the passion and dedication everyone has for Flesh And Bone and super excited for it to be seen,” Walley-Beckett said. “The team helped me realize an authentic world and truthful story. I look forward to unveiling not just the drama, but the incredible performances our actors and dancers delivered.”
Flesh and Bone has been a passion project for Walley-Beckett, Bender and Brown, who all have strong connections to the ballet world — Bender and Walley-Beckett are former ballet dancers, and Brown’s family is made up entirely of former ballet dancers and was the basis for the 1977 feature The Turning Point. The trio and Starz put a big emphasis on authenticity when developing Flesh And Bone. That included lengthy and exhaustive search for real-life accomplished dancers to play the roles of dancers in the series, including former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Irina Dvorovenko, current American Ballet Theatre soloist Sascha Radetsky, and Ballet Arizona company dancer Raychel Diane Weiner.
While that gives the drama instant credibility, it also has made production scheduling difficult because of cast members’ high-profile ballet commitments.
Flesh And Bone also recruited top professionals behind the scenes, including Ethan Stiefel, artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, who served and consultant and choreographer. He created 13 minutes of original ballet in addition to the other elaborate dancing involved in the series.