EXCLUSIVE: I’m a Virgo creator, executive producer and showrunner Boots Riley has signed a two-year overall television deal with Media Res, the indie studio behind the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series starring Emmy winner Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us).
Filmmaker Riley got the attention of Media Res founder and CEO Michael Ellenberg with his debut feature Sorry To Bother You. Ellenberg was in Park City for the 2018 Sundance Film Festival where Sorry To Bother You premiered. After seeing the black comedy starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun and Forest Whitaker, Ellenberg approached Riley about working together on a television project. Riley signed a TV script deal with Media Res in July 2018, which resulted in I’m a Virgo.
“Boots Riley is one of the most imaginative, passionate, provocative and daring artists working today,” said Ellenberg. “He is a true multi-hyphenate—director, writer, singer, songwriter and activist. We are so grateful he’s chosen to make his home at Media Res. We look forward to sharing I’m A Virgo and many more Boots Riley visions with the world.”
Currently in pre-production for a 2022 launch, I’m a Virgo is an absurdist, coming-of-age story about a 13-foot tall black man living in Oakland, CA.
“Look, TV is gonna rot your brain and make you miss out on real life,” said Riley. “Don’t let it go down like that. Watch my shows to make sure you go down in a ball of flames.”
Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, which also is set and was filmed in Oakland, follows a young African-American telemarketer (Stanfield) who adopts a white accent in order to succeed at his job. The film was quickly picked up for distribution by Annapurna Pictures. It did well at the indie boxoffice and earned Riley multiple accolades, including Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards and the Sundance Institute’s Vanguard Award.
Aside from his filmmaking career, Riley is known for his two-decade span as leader of The Coup, a radical funk/punk/hip-hop band, where he penned six albums that garnered recognition as Pop Album of The Year by The Washington Post and the Associated Press, and Hip Hop Album of The Year by Rolling Stone.
In addition to I’m a Virgo, Media Res studio’s series slate includes the second season of AppleTV+ drama The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, and limited series Scenes from a Marriage, starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac, at HBO. The company has two additional AppleTV+ series in the queue for 2022, Pachinko, based on the beloved international bestseller, and Scott Z. Burns’ climate change anthology series Extrapolations.
Riley is repped by WME and attorneys Jonathan Gardner and Molly Fenton at Cohen Gardner.