Project Greenlight, the relatively short-lived reality TV show about the various behind-the-scenes aspects that go into making a film in Hollywood, has officially been off the air for a decade. In its first two seasons (which ran from 2001 to 2003 on HBO), show-runners and co-hosts Matt Damon and Ben Affleck appeared on set in the service of fostering young creative minds behind the camera in the making of some new bloods' first feature films (before moving for a third season to Bravo in 2005).
As previously announced, the show will be returning for a fourth season on HBO, in support of the new film The Leisure Class from first-time director Jason Mann. The red carpet premiere for Mann's directorial-debut brought with it new information on the fourth season of Project Greenlight, too.
As reported by THR, Mann and his film beat out a large pool of potential applicant's for the show's fourth season, and The Leisure Class (a dysfunctional family comedy that takes place within the 24-hours before the wedding of one socialite daughter) will be produced by Effie Brown (Dear White People), Damon, Affleck, and Marc Joubert of Adaptive Studios.
According to Damon, working with Mann and HBO was a fruitful third partnership, with the actor and producer stating:
"It’s a wonderful thing to document because really interesting stuff happens on sets when you are making a movie. Our argument always was that any movie would be interesting if you documented it because there’s just so much [going on behind-the-scenes]. There’s a lot of decisions that have to be made quickly and there’s a lot at stake creatively with each of those decisions."
Damon also commented extensively on the ten-year gap since the show's third season on Bravo, with the added reflection on the show's attendant changes to its longstanding format and distribution of the program's featured project:
"The biggest change is that HBO is putting out [both] the movie and the show now, which is a much better way to do it. [HBO’s] a great place to make a movie, and they’re not afraid of things creatively. That makes them an awesome partner to have, but also, [viewers will] be able to see the show, [and] can get invested in what it was like behind-the-scenes on this movie, and then go right into the movie [the next night]."
Damon wasn't the only one happy with the finished product, with film's star matriarch Brenda Strong (Dallas) commenting on the process of working on the production:
"You see this little microphone right here. It makes you hyper-vigilant about being on good behavior for the first week, and after that you just kind of throw in the towel. You’re really aware of the camera for the first day or two and then all of the sudden you forget, and then you wish you were more aware of the camera."
With such enthusiasm for Mann, The Leisure Class, and Project Greenlight being espoused from its red carpet premiere, longtime viewers of Damon and Affleck's pet-project from the early 2000s may be in for a real treat when the forth season premieres on HBO this September. And airing the program's documented final feature film on the same network that will air the show is probably the best way for the program to move forward (and ensure the largest audience possible for its featured director).
Since the conclusion of the show's last season on Bravo in May 2005, a lot has changed on the level of independent filmmaking, with Miramax Films alone having become a leading mover-and-shaker within the film industry as a whole. Independent film as a movement has also changed significantly since the show's first season on HBO in 2001, so it'll be interesting to see how Project Greenlight will change in order to keep up with the times.
Project Greenlight's fourth season will premiere on HBO on Sunday, September 13th, 2015.