Apple TV+ hasn’t launched yet, but it has already racked up its first cancellation: Richard Gere drama Bastards.
The eight-episode programme was ordered straight to series last year. Based on an Israeli drama, the show was set to follow two elderly Vietnam veterans, who find their routine existence disrupted by a woman they both loved 50 years ago, who is killed by a car. Regrets and secrets collide with resentment of today’s self-absorbed youth and they end up going on a shooting spree.
Gere was set to play one of the veterans, with Gordon and Warren Leight (Law & Order: SVU) attached as showrunners. It was produced by Fox 21 and Howard Gordon’s Teakwood Lane banner, which was also behind Homeland (another remake of an Israeli series) and Keshet. The star names added to the buzz around the project: Apple originally acquired the show after a bidding war with other players.
Nonetheless, the plug has now been pulled on the project, with THR reporting that Apple gave notes to Gordon and Leight on the show’s tone of vigilante justice. Apple reportedly wanted to focus on the heart and central friendship between the two friends, rather than the darker elements of the story. With no compromise reached, Apple chose to release the project, at significant financial cost, and Bastards is now without a home and, indeed, may not ever find a new one.
The result is Apple TV+’s first scripted project to be axed, although it is not the first bump in the road to be encountered by the streaming service’s content heads, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg. Apple’s first scripted comedy, You Think It I’ll Say It, is on hold following the departure of Kristen Wiig (due to scheduling issues), The Morning Show, Amazing Stories and Foundation have all seen showrunner changes and Apple previously scrapped planned for what would have been its first scripted project, Vital Signs, from Dr. Dre.
Apple TV+ does not yet have a confirmed launch date, but is expected to arrive before the end of the year.