As far as trailers go, the first for Netflix’s upcoming limited series Maniac is intriguingly understated. The series is one of the more interesting in Netflix’s fall lineup, if for no other reason than the talent involved. In addition to starring Academy Award winner Emma Stone and two-time Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill, all 10 episodes of what is being billed as a dark comedy are directed by Cary Fukunaga, a name that is sure to garner even more interest in what sounds like a strange and exciting series.
Based on the Norwegian series of the same name, Netflix’s Maniac is created, written, and executive produced by Patrick Somerville (The Bridge, The Leftovers), and concerns two strangers played by Stone and Hill, as they enter into the final stages of a pharmaceutical drug trial being conducted by Justin Theroux’s Dr. James K. Mantleray. The idea, as noted in the trailer above, is that Mantleray can correct, or solve, anything wrong with the brain, presumably through whatever drug treatment he has cooked up. The results are, well, likely going to be weird.
There’s not a whole lot to go on in the teaser in terms of actual footage, but it does hint at the tone of the series and perhaps afford a glimpse at what its visual aesthetic might be like. The way both Stone and Hill are centered in the frame, either in profile or straight on, is reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s filmmaking style, though it’s uncertain whether or not this look is representative of Fukunaga's choices throughout the series or if it’s simply being employed here in the teaser. As for what the series is about, check out the synopsis from Netflix below:
“Set in a world somewhat like our world, in a time quite similar to our time, Maniac tells the stories of Annie Landsberg (Emma Stone) and Owen Milgrim (Jonah Hill), two strangers drawn to the late stages of a mysterious pharmaceutical trial, each for their own reasons. Annie’s disaffected and aimless, fixated on broken relationships with her mother and her sister; Owen, the fifth son of wealthy New York industrialists, has struggled his whole life with a disputed diagnosis of schizophrenia. Neither of their lives have turned out quite right, and the promise of a new, radical kind of pharmaceutical treatment—a sequence of pills its inventor, Dr. James K. Mantleray (Justin Theroux), claims can repair anything about the mind, be it mental illness or heartbreak—draws them and ten other strangers to the facilities of Neberdine Pharmaceutical and Biotech for a three-day drug trial that will, they’re assured, with no complications or side-effects whatsoever, solve all of their problems, permanently. Things do not go as planned.”
With a fantastic cast that also includes Sally Field, Julia Garner (Ozark), Gabriel Byrne, and Jemima Kirke (Girls), Maniac may quickly become one of the most anticipated new series to hit Netflix this year.
Maniac premiers Friday, September 21 exclusively on Netflix.