Leigh Whannell’s ‘Upgrade’ Is Getting A Series Adaptation

May 29, 2020

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of HorrorFuel.com. She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email: horrorfuelinfo@gmail.com



Blumhouse Television and UCP, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios, are teaming up for the series adaption of Leigh Whannell’s 2018 sci-fi, thriller Upgrade, which Whannell co-created and will direct, as well as executive produce along with showrunner Tim Walsh (TreadstoneChicago P.D., Shooter).


The series picks up a few years after the events of the film and broadens the universe with an evolved version of STEM and a new host in a world in which the government repurposes STEM to help curb criminal activity.


A writer’s room has begun work on the series’ first season. Krystal Ziv Houghton and James Roland, who ran the second season of The Purge, have joined Whannell and Walsh.


The film, which Whannell both wrote and directed, starred Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, and Harrison Gilbertson. In the film, after his wife is killed during a brutal mugging that also leaves him paralyzed, Grey Trace (Marshall-Green) is approached by a billionaire inventor with an experimental cure in the form of a computer chip implant called STEM. The implant provides its host with heightened physical abilities, allowing Grey to exact revenge on those responsible for his wife’s death. The film was produced for $5 million and grossed more than $16 million at the global box office. It was also the recipient of the 2018 SXSW Audience Award.


Leigh Whannell most recently directed the brilliant film The Invisible Man (review) starring Elisabeth Moss for Blumhouse and Universal, which is not out on Blu-ray and DVD. The box office smash grossed over $122 million globally and is Certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes with a 91%. Whannell also wrote the first three Saw films, co-creating the hit horror franchise with director James Wan. Whannell recently signed a first-look deal with Blumhouse for both film and television, after successful collaborations with the studio on the Insidious franchise, Upgrade, and The Invisible Man. The Upgrade series is the first project to be developed under that deal.


Jason Blum (HalloweenThe Good Lord Bird) and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones from Automatik will executive produce alongside Whannell and Walsh. Whannell and Walsh co-created the series which is a co-production between Blumhouse Television and UCP.


Blumhouse Television and UCP previously co-produced USA Network’s The Purge series as well as the upcoming The Wilderness of Error for FX.


Leigh Whannell is represented by CAA and Myman, Greenspan, Fox, Rosenberg, Mobasser, Younger & Light. Tim Walsh is represented by Paradigm and Pacific View Management.

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