iHeartRadio, FlynnPictureCo., Psychopia Pictures and UpperRoom Productions break new ground to produce the original narrative sci-fi thriller podcast amid the pandemic, pushing the envelope in creative audio content production
NEW YORK – August 3, 2020 – iHeartRadio, the No. 1 commercial podcast publisher globally, FlynnPictureCo., Psychopia Pictures and UpperRoom Productions today announced “There Be Monsters,” an original ten-part narrative sci-fi thriller podcast starring John Boyega (Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, Detroit) and Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG award winner Darren Criss (American Crime Story: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace, Hollywood, Royalties). “There Be Monsters,” which is produced by Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo., Dan Bush of Psychopia Pictures and John Boyega of UpperRoom Productions, will be available later this year on the iHeartPodcast Network.
In this new scripted thriller, Boyega plays Jack Locke, the mysterious hero with a vendetta who infiltrates a Silicon Valley body-hacking startup run by an enigmatic CEO Max Fuller, played by Criss, whose highly secretive creations promise to enhance human biology in incredible ways - but every drug has a side effect.
iHeartRadio, FlynnPictureCo., Psychopia Pictures and UpperRoom Productions began developing “There Be Monsters” in November 2019 as part of an expanding slate of immersive “PodFiction” (PodFi) audio dramas. As the creative team was getting ready to fly to London, Atlanta and LA to record the actors in early 2020, the pandemic hit and they were shut down. Despite the challenges of executing a scripted fictional podcast thriller with a full cast of actors remotely, the creative team was eager to move forward and broke new ground in podcast production in June 2020. The podcast creators and the iHeart team created a completely remote technological process and each cast member was sent a “Studio in a Box,” which included important materials from a professional studio microphone to tutorial videos. These materials enabled the cast to record studio quality “scripted” audio from the safety of their own homes, while still performing together as they connected virtually via teleconference across multiple continents and time zones. The director, producers and actors would connect virtually daily for six hours to record – and over the course of two weeks the production captured over four hundred pages of material with twenty different actors.
“The process to develop this scripted show and the ability to capture the connection, emotions and overall dynamic between the cast members while recording remotely, from across the globe, was unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Conal Byrne, President of the iHeartPodcast Network. “It’s an unbelievable feat, and I’m so impressed with Beau Flynn, Psychopia Pictures and UpperRoom Productions for rising to the occasion to create such a spectacular podcast.”
John Boyega was the first to attach and is on-board as a producer via his UpperRoom Productions. “Getting to explore this format of storytelling whilst also adjusting to new methods of recording with the cast members made it an exciting process,” said Boyega. “I’m thrilled it all came together and hope audiences are just as drawn in as I was to this sci-fi thriller series.”
The PodFi also stars Marley Shelton (Rampage, “Rise”), Clark Gregg (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain Marvel) and Tony Award nominee Sahr Ngaujah (Fela!, Patti Cake$, Luke Cage).
The series was created and directed by Dan Bush (The Vault, The Signal), who co-wrote along with tyro-writer Nicholas Tecosky.
“’There Be Monsters’ is a psychological thriller that chronicles the rise of humankind 2.0, and the disruptions to society that come with it,” said Bush. “We chose to format this story as a scripted podcast because it is an immersive, storytelling playground, and I am beyond excited to partner with this powerhouse team and talent to bring this singular show to life.”
“From the start, our goal for “There Be Monsters,” our first PodFiction series, has always been to break down traditional storytelling barriers and create a completely unique and immersive narrative audio experience that takes listeners beyond conventional podcasting,” said Flynn. “When the pandemic hit this year and the world collectively turned to storytellers and artists to help get through this challenging time, we knew we had to find a way to keep production on track and deliver this story. We couldn’t have conceived of better partners than iHeartRadio, Dan Bush and our exemplary cast and crew to step into the unknown with. What we were able to achieve together despite endless challenges and limitations is truly the first of its kind, and we can’t wait to share this incredible story and unique experience with the world.”
FlynnPictureCo.’s Scott Sheldon and Shelby Thomas will also serve as producers.
FlynnPictureCo. is currently in post-production on Disney’s Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, releasing July 30, 2021. Fresh on the heels of the latest Star Wars trilogy, Boyega via his UpperRoom Productions recently inked a multiyear producing deal with Netflix with a specific focus on non-English language films from West and East Africa.
“There Be Monsters” production just wrapped and is now in post production. The PodFiction series will be distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network which is home to more than 750 original podcasts with over 215 million downloads each month. iHeartRadio Original Podcasts span every category from business, sports, spirituality and technology to entertainment, family, comedy and true crime – and everything in between – making iHeartRadio the largest publisher of podcast content in the world.
John Boyega is repped by Identity Agency Company and Sloane Offer, Weber & Dern.. CAA and Ricky Rollins of Hyphenate Creative Management rep Criss, and his attorney is Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman. iHeartMedia was assisted and represented by Oren Rosenbaum of UTA during the deal.