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Jaunt Reviving Cult Classic The Lawnmower Man as a VR Series

Just don’t expect the series to be the same as the original movie.

Today, Jaunt, the virtual reality (VR) content production and distribution specialist has announced its production slate for 2017. Five new scripted series are planned, with one being the iconic 90’s VR themed movie The Lawnmower Man

The other four series that have been announced are Luna, The Enlightened Ones, Bad Trip and Miss Gloria. Each series will be original, with Jaunt forming new or continuing existing relationships with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), William Morris Endeavor (WME), Park Television Productions and Triton Media Inc for their production.

Released in 1992, The Lawnmower Man is attributed with showcasing early VR. For this new series Jaunt will reimagine the movie, partnering with rights holders Jim Howell and Rupert Harvey.

“The original movie was a film of unsurpassed imagination and creativity with its ground-breaking use of VR back in 1992,” said Jim Howell. “Together with Jaunt we look forward to a contemporary team bringing to life a whole new world of VR; a world of immersive entertainment and communication. We are very excited to be working with Jaunt to create a VR realization of the film.”

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Luna will be a 12-part sci-fi thriller created by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (Assassin’s Creed, Exodus: Gods and Kings), directed by Robert Schwentke (the Divergent Series, Flightplan). “Luna follows an ensemble cast navigating an abandoned lunar base which results in them experiencing fear unlike anyone has felt before,” explains the official description.

“Immersive 360-degree storytelling is the movement of the future. The opportunity to launch such a massive franchise in this groundbreaking new medium is a humbling dream come true. Whereas traditional narrative filmmaking brings the story to the viewer, Luna brings the viewer into the story,” the creators said in a statement. “Around the globe, one thing we all share in common is a fascination with what it might be like to experience life on the moon — so as writers, we couldn’t think of a better way to engage this new medium than with something that’s at once unifying and germane to all human curiosity — yet simultaneously, tense, thought-provoking and hopefully, inspiring to us all.”

The Enlightened Ones is a political sci-fi series written and produced by Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalpyse, Ready Player One) and Nikola Todorovic of Aether, Inc. In it the human race has become immortal due to the discovery of a strange device. With everyone on Earth unable to die the world’s governments form an organization to control the crisis of overpopulation. But not all is what it seems, and season one follows Enlightened One JL57, an employee at the company, as he is pulled into a resistance movement.

“The entire Aether team is excited to begin development in collaboration with Jaunt on The Enlightened Ones,” said Sheridan. “It’s always refreshing to bring great stories into a new medium of storytelling. This is not just a story about good vs. evil. We wanted to truthfully explore what would happen if we discovered a technology that could prolong human life and make war and illness obsolete; would we allow everyone to use it knowing that the earth would overpopulate?”

Going for a somewhat lighter tone than the previously mentioned projects, Bad Trip is a six-part stoner comedy series. In Bad Trip viewers will be placed in a hyper-visual and uncomfortable situation of taking various drugs in less than ideal environments.

Coming from Harold and Kumar 3D writer/director Todd Strauss-Schulson, the director said: “VR is the future.  It’s a fascinating new form of storytelling that can create a potent feeling state and a personal subjective experience. You know what else can do that? Drugs. Drugs have the power to create hilarious, pride swallowing humiliations. I’m pumped to dive into the VR world where I can apply my visual ideas to this medium putting the viewer inside these hallucinatory rollercoaster rides. And I’m excited to be partnered with a team as bold as Jaunt, they are truly on the cutting edge of VR content.”

Lastly there is Miss Gloria, a sci-fi action adventure. The series is set in the distant future, where the viewer is put into several distinct points of view as a “Robot Hero” tracks down a young girl who has gone missing during an uprising.

Written by New York Times Bestselling author, Daniel H. Wilson (Robopocalypse, How to Survive a Robot Uprising), Wilson said about the series: “I wrote Miss Gloria from the ground up to take advantage of the unique strengths of storytelling in VR. It’s a deeply emotional exploration into how we internalize the voices of our teachers and mentors, and how we continue to carry those people with us forever. My first career was as a roboticist, so I’m incredibly excited to combine art and science by crafting thrilling sci-fi for a cutting edge technological medium.”

“As we continue to develop more immersive, cinematic VR content with high production values and longer run-times, it solidifies for us that VR is fast-becoming a mainstream staple within the entertainment industry,” said George Kliavkoff, president and CEO of Jaunt. “2016 was the final year of experimentation and every indication is that 2017 will be the year of action and adoption. We’re excited to be in development on all five of these series alongside some of today’s top talent.”

VRFocus will continue to follow Jaunt and these five series, reporting back with release dates and further details as they’re released.


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