Ang Lee to Direct FX Drama Pilot 'Tyrant'

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

March 14th, 2013


via press release:






Project Hails from Award-Winning “Homeland” Producers Howard Gordon &

Gideon Raff And Emmy-Nominated Writer/Producer Craig Wright



Los Angeles, March 14, 2013 – Coming off of his Academy Award® win for Life of Pi, celebrated director Ang Lee will make his television directorial debut with FX, directing the Pilot episode for the highly anticipated drama Tyrant, from Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff (Homeland), and Emmy-nominated writer/producer Craig Wright (Six Feet Under, Lost). The announcement was made today by John Landgraf, President and General Manager, FX Networks.


Tyrant will be Lee’s first project following Life of Pi.


Tyrant tells the story of an unassuming American family drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation. The series was created by Raff and developed by Gordon and Wright. Raff wrote the pilot script, which comes from Teakwood Lane, the shingle Gordon has set up at 20th Century Fox Television.  Tyrant is produced by Fox 21 and FX Productions.


"Ang Lee has demonstrated time and again an ability to present characters with such depth and specificity that they reveal the universal human condition,” said Landgraf.  “No one could be a more perfect film maker to bring Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, and Craig Wright's Tyrant to indelible life."


Gordon, Raff and Wright are executive producers in association with Keshet Broadcasting. Lee is an Executive Producer.  If Tyrant receives a series order, Wright will serve as showrunner.


“The fact that the brilliant Ang Lee has signed on to direct his first project for television speaks to the extraordinary nature of ‘Tyrant,’” commented Bert Salke, President of Fox 21, which will produce the show. “Ang Lee, Gideon Raff, Craig Wright and Howard Gordon are master storytellers at the height of their powers, and the material is incredible. We can’t wait to get started.”


Production on Tyrant is tentatively slated to begin this summer.


Ang Lee is one of the world’s most revered and honored film directors.  A three-time Academy Award winner, most recently winning for Best Director for Life of Pi, the international hit that has earned over 600 million dollars worldwide, Lee previously earned the Best Director honor for the groundbreaking Brokeback Mountain (2006).  His won his first Oscar in 2001 for Best Foreign-Language Film winner, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  Lee’s films have twice won the prestigious Golden Lion Award for Best Picture at the Venice International Film Festival – in 2007 for Lust, Caution and in 2005 for Brokeback Mountain; and twice won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin International Film Festival – in 1993 for The Wedding Banquet and in 1996 for Sense and SensibilityLust, Caution swept Asia’s Golden Horse Awards (Taiwan’s equivalent of the Academy Awards), with eight wins, including Best Film; it is one of the highest-grossing and most critically acclaimed films in the history of Chinese-language cinema.  Lee’s other feature film work includes The Ice Storm, Ride with the Devil, The Hulk starring Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly, Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, and Taking Woodstock.


Fox 21

Fox 21 is a production company housed within Twentieth Century Fox Television devoted to making creatively ambitious scripted series for the cable television market, as well as unscripted shows for both cable and broadcast networks. Led by President Bert Salke, Fox 21 produces the Emmy and Golden Globe winning Homeland starring Emmy winners Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, the critically acclaimed smash hit Sons of Anarchy (with FX Productions), the breakout animated comedy Brickleberry from Daniel Tosh, and the upcoming Witches of East End starring Julia Ormond and Jenna Dewan-Tatum.


FX Productions

FX Productions produces the critically acclaimed hit comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Louie, Archer, Wilfred, and Legit, and the late night series Brand X with Russell Brand and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. FXP co-produces the award-winning hit drama series Sons of Anarchy and Justified, the critically acclaimed drama The Americans and the upcoming drama series The Bridge.  FXP currently has production output deals in place with RCG Productions, the production company of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Executive Producer/Showrunners Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton, and Floyd County Productions, the production company of Archer Executive Producer/Showrunners Adam Reed and Matt Thompson. FXP recently announced a cable exclusive, first-look pact with Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson and their Color Force production company, producers of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid feature franchise and The Hunger Games. It was the first POD deal for FX Productions that was not established through a prior existing relationship with the studio.  FXP has a first-look cable deal with Paul Giamatti, Dan Carey and their production company, Touchy Feely Films. FXP is also producing limited series and miniseries for FX and FOX.



FX is the flagship general entertainment basic cable network from Fox. Launched in June of 1994, FX is carried in more than 98 million homes. The diverse schedule features a growing roster of critically acclaimed and award-winning hit dramas series Sons of Anarchy, Justified, and The Americans, and the upcoming drama series The Bridge (July 2013); the miniseries American Horror Story; the acclaimed hit comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Louie, Archer, Wilfred, and Legit; and late night shows, Brand X with Russell Brand, and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell; The network’s library of acquired box-office hit movies is unmatched by any ad-supported television network. FX's other offerings include the acquired hit series Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother, and live sports with UFC and NCAA football.



  • POIFanatic

    Life of Pi was the Best Movie of 2012 for me. Excited that Ang Lee is taking on a tv project.

  • Michael

    Interesting to see an A-list director crossover to television!

  • Edward

    I’ll definitely check it out, but it seems like a step down after directing Life of Pi. Maybe he needs a break.

  • Dan S

    I agree that Life of Pi was the best movie of 2012. As a fan of Homeland & most FX shows I’m excited to check out Tyrant whenever it premieres.

  • Bee

    i read this as FOX pilot and thought holy crap! FOX is so lucky! lol anyway, i seem to have a thing for FX dramas. can’t wait for this!

    and it’s not a step down. directors/actors cross medium all the time. the social network’s david fincher directed episodes for that new netflix series house of cards.

  • Jan

    I was really excited about this but then saw the premise… an American family dealing with the Middle East? How uninteresting, he should do a drama like Brokeback Mountain or a fantasy show (sort of) like Life of Pi.

  • Qi

    As a Chinese, I’m so happy and Proud Ang Lee won the best Oscar. He’s a great Director. I’m glad the oscar didn’t go to Spielberg, I’m tired of hearing about Lincoln. That was a long time ago and boring.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Sounds to me like another Muslim-bashing effort like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. Just what we need, more propaganda movies so we can get a war with Iran for the benefit of the military-industrial complex and the Israel Lobby…

    How about setting it in Asia? Which, given the director is Asian, would make it even more likely to be well done. Or Africa. Or the Caucasus. Plenty of tyrants in those places, too.

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