After Jennifer Lopez show, writer has more tricks up his sleeve
With success on NBC, Adi Hasak already has other shows in development. He gives us a sneak peek in this exclusive interview.
Adi Hasak spent the better part of two decades writing scripts, occasionally selling them, but rarely having them produced. Then he sold “Shades of Blue” to NBC with Jennifer Lopez as the star. The show, also starring Ray Liotta and produced by Ryan Seacrest, became a hit and has already been renewed for a second season. Now Hasak is an in-demand writer-producer with two new shows in the works and more already in development.
In a sit-down interview with From The Grapevine at West Hollywood’s London Hotel, Hasak analyzed his not-so-overnight rise.
“I put in my dues. It’s been a journey, years and years of rejection,” he told us. “There were many years where it wasn’t working. It’s all about perseverance. It’s been tough, but it’s doable.”
Born in The Netherlands, Hasak grew up in Israel where he studied at Tel Aviv University. He began his writing career as a speechwriter-turned-journalist. He moved to Hollywood to become a screenwriter in the early 1990s and got his first job at the famed ICM talent agency. It took three years to sell his first script, which was never produced.
Specializing in action thrillers, he wrote a few that were made: “Shadow Conspiracy” and collaborations with French writer-director Luc Besson, “3 Days to Kill” starring Kevin Costner, and “From Paris With Love,” starring John Travolta.
But Hasak gravitated toward television, finding his voice in the medium where content is king and writer-creators run the show. Now that “Shades of Blue” is up and running, he’s focusing some attention on “Eyewitness,” a drama about a pair of teenagers who witness a murder. Julianne Nicholson (from Showtime's “Masters of Sex”) will play a sheriff and the mother of one of the boys. The show, based on a Norwegian series, begins shooting in late April for a debut on the USA network in July.
Compared to the original, “It’ll move faster and have more energy but structurally it’s very much the same,” said Hasak, who is producing and writing all the episodes. Catherine Hardwicke (from “Twilight,” “Thirteen” and “Lords of Dogtown”) will direct the first two episodes.
“We courted her for six months,” he revealed during our chat. “She’s an amazing director with a real style and has the ability to pull performances out of young actors.”
Continuing to look overseas for other existing properties, Hasak found “Black Widows,” the Finnish version of "Desperate Housewives.” It’s about three women who take revenge on their husbands by blowing up their boat. Casting is underway for the show, and plans are for it to go directly to series at whichever network lands it. Hasak will write the first episode and show-run the first season.
Going forward, he plans to make deals that give him a majority ownership stake in his shows, and find new ways to make licensing deals. One idea he wants to pursue is to take one of his unproduced scripts, turn it into a show in Israel, and then resell it to Hollywood.
Hasak also wants to remake the British family drama “Doc Martin,” about a surgeon who develops a fear of blood and becomes a small-town practitioner, but so far hasn’t persuaded the owners to sell the rights. He has his eye on a “very cool” French TV show, too, but is wary of overextending himself.
“You want to keep the quality high so people will want to get in business with you,” he told us. “I’m having my moment, but the writing is what got me here.”
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