The Last Bus: YouTubers head to Netflix for young adult series
James R | On 11, Aug 2020
A pair of “bedroom creators” are heading to Netflix for a new original series, The Last Bus.
Paul Neafcy and Drew Casson, who both cut their teeth making independent videos for YouTube, caught the eye of Wildseed Studios, a British company that was looking for up-and-coming, undiscovered online talent. Co-founded by Jesse Cleverly, who worked at the Royal Court Theatre in the 1990s when a similar initiative was undertaken by Stephen Daldry, told The Guardian that the current digital age is enabling “a whole new bunch of currently inaccessible voices to make extraordinary work”.
Neafcy, who has worked as a runner in TV, built up an online following with his videos, including some based on spoken-word performances and, most notably, the web series Phillip Human (for Wildseed). He impressed Wildseed with his “instinctive grasp of the complexities of character”.
Casson started making videos from a young age and, while at school, went viral with a video recreating a Harry Potter-style wand fight.
His work since has included web series Divinity, about an angel sent to Earth to prevent the destruction of humanity.
Wildseed steered the two and, after a short digital series impressed Netflix, the streaming giant has ordered a full series of what is described as a family sci-fi adventure. The 10-part live-action young adult series will explore artificial intelligence and how humans can save the planet by working together. Neafcy has created and written the project, with Casson on board as one of the directors, alongside helmers Lawrence Gough, Steve Hughes and Nour Wazzi.
Alexi Wheeler, Netflix’s Head of Kids and Family Originals (UK and Europe), commented: “There’s so much software available now that people can sit in their bedrooms with a bit of footage they’ve got and create all sorts of incredible effects … We’re bringing that quality … of special effects and storytelling to a younger audience.”
“Although at the top level The Last Bus is a shamelessly entertaining sci-fi romp, at another level it is a powerful eco-fable about how the younger generation must be empowered to make very different choices from the generation which preceded it when it comes to the two big challenges of the age – environmental breakdown and hugely sophisticated artificial intelligence,” Cleverley and Wildseed co-founder Miles Bullough told Deadline.
Filming is expected to begin this autumn in Bristol and the South West of England.