HBO Asia rolls out new year-end titles

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Oscar-winners Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are back for another season of Project Greenlight, a docu-reality series that chronicles first-time directors and their filmmaking processes

Oscar-winners Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are back for another season of Project Greenlight, a docu-reality series that chronicles first-time directors and their filmmaking processes

As if foreseeing the couch potato season in the coming holidays of November and December, cable network group HBO officially announced the lineup of original productions set to premiere in its slew of channels in the days and weeks to come.

Karen Lai, Communications Director for HBO Asia, flew into country from the regional headquarters in Singapore to meet with the local entertainment press for her announcement on October 6. She began by proudly citing the network’s same day premiere scheme, which has made Asian fans of American titles very happy.

“What we’ve managed to do since Game of Thrones [season five premiere]this April is to premiere our original productions the same time as the US. What this means is, if you are watching a premiere in Manila at nine in the morning, you are watching it the same time as the folks in New York on Sunday night.

“We thought it’s important to do this because don’t you just hate reading spoilers, especially that of Game of Thrones, on the Internet? We are doing this for the benefit of all our Asian audiences,” she added.


Lai then went on to introduce four HBO original productions scheduled to come out before the yearend.

Leading the pack is the season two opening of Emmy-winning series The Knick on Cinemax, HBO’s action channel. A medical drama, the show follows the story of Knickerbocker Hospital (“the Knick”) doctors set in “olden days” when medical science was still developing. Helmed by Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh, The Knick stars Oscar-nominee Clive Owen, Andre Holland, Eve Hewson and Juliet Rylance. The premiere date is set for October 17.

Another HBO original from the US is The Leftovers, based on the novel of the same title written by Tom Perrotta, that premiered on October 5.

A star-studded original production, meanwhile, is the docu-reality series Project Greenlight, with Oscar-winners Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as executive producers. Project Greenlight chronicles the search for a first-time director and explores the whole filmmaking process.

“Unlike other reality shows where the winner is announced in the end, from the start, the show picks the winner already so the rest of the episodes document how he shoots his film,” Lai explained. “The show culminates with the movie the winning director produced itself.”

Project Greenlight season four premieres on October 30 on HBO Signature, while The Leisure Class, the winning director’s movie, premieres November 3.

Giving the region an Asian series, the network will premiere Halfworlds on November 29, the fourth in a series of HBO Asia originals after Dead Mine (2012), Serangoon Road (2013) and Grace (2014). Halfworlds follows the story of a young street artist who uncovers her true origins when she finds herself unwittingly caught in a battle between humans and demons. Directed by Joko Anwar, the Asian-made series features an ensemble cast of actors from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Going beyond 2015, Lai took the opportunity to talk about Vinyl, a show that will begin in January 2016.

“It’s all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll,” the executive hinted, refusing to divulge any other spoilers on the program. The Manila Times’ research, however, noted that Vinyl’s executive producer is no less than Martin Scorsese, who also wrote and directed the pilot episode, together with music legend Mick Jagger. The storyline is centered on a fictional record label named American Century Records, and is set in the ‘70s rock scene. Boardwalk Empire’s Bobby Cannavale, House’s Olivia Wilde, and Jagger’s own son James, who bears a striking resemblance to his father, star in this highly anticipated series.

All HBO shows, original productions and movies are also available via the HBO GO mobile application.

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