What would Americans do if given 12 hours in which any and every type of crime was legal? That's the question posed by writer/director James DeMonaco's 2013 horror film The Purge. Starring Ethan Hawke and Game of Thrones' Lena Headey, The Purge takes place in a dystopian future where the corrupt government of the United States has instituted the titular annual tradition, a 12-hour period where the morally bankrupt among society can feel free to indulge in every twisted fantasy they can dream up.
The idea behind Purge night is supposedly to allow Americans to release the violent urges they are forced to keep bottled up the rest of the year, lest they no longer be allowed in polite society. Made for a meager budget of $3 million, the original Purge was a huge surprise hit, bringing in nearly $90 million worldwide. This naturally led to two - to date at least - sequels entitled The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year. Starring Frank Grillo in the lead role, Purge 2 and 3 served to expand the scope of the original film, allowing audiences to spend more time out on the streets where the real "action" is taking place.
With Anarchy and Election Year each managing to improve on both their predecessors' profit margins and critical sentiment, it's no surprise that the franchise is poised to expand. In a new interview with Cinema Blend, DeMonaco was asked about the possibility of The Purge migrating to TV, and took the opportunity to reveal that such a show is already in development:
"Dude, it's so weird you bring that up. Yes! Not an anthology... I guess kind of an anthology -- more of an interwoven anthology. They came to me about a TV show, my idea is that you do six or seven storylines. And I would kind of intercut them, use flashbacks."
When asked why he thought moving The Purge format to TV would work out, DeMonaco added:
"The idea of why I like the idea of a maybe 10 hour TV thing on this, the one thing you really can't do on the films is, just because of mere real estate and time, is you can't get into the nuance and complexity that would drive someone to commit a terrible act on this night. Whether it's revenge or out of passion, but what might be interesting in a TV show is with a flashback narrative, if you start on Purge Night but you go back to show how people have gotten to where they are. Where you see a couple that's gone haywire on this night, but let's show everything that's led up to this moment of a husband trying to kill a wife -- the cheating or the accusations of cheating or money problems. It will be interesting to show those arcs, those dramatic and complex arcs that get people to where they pick up a gun or a knife and kill someone else. I think there's something cool that we can do with the real estate of TV -- 10 hours, potentially."
While DeMonaco was unable to provide an exact timeline as to when The Purge TV show would premiere, he expressed sentiments that suggest the project is on the fast track:
"They're far ahead on the TV front... pretty far ahead. Not to get into the nuance of how it all goes down, we're talking about deals right now, money is being spoken about. Things like that. So I think it's being taken very seriously from the higher-ups who obviously dictate everything."
A production company for the series wasn't discussed, but one assumes some combination of Platinum Dunes, Blumhouse Productions, and Universal Studios - the team behind all three of the Purge films - will likely be involved in some fashion. As for what outlet the show ultimately lands on, it seems logical that a premium cable network or streaming service would be the best option, as The Purge is nothing if not a hard-R franchise when it comes to language, violence, and adult content. One wonders what this means for the prospect of a Purge 4 theatrical film, as Election Year certainly made enough money to justify continuing Leo Barnes' story.
The Purge TV series is in development and has no current premiere date.
Source: Cinema Blend