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HBO Max Signs Marlon Wayans to Sitcom, Develops Dystopian ‘In Memoriam’

Fern Siegel

HBO Max is now in partnership with Marlon Wayans. It has teamed with him for both a standup special and a first-look deal at any scripted and unscripted projects.

Wayans (“Sextuplets,” “A Haunted House”) begins the alliance with the half-hour comedy “Book of Marlon,” which takes a humorous look at his life. The series is co-created by Rick Alvarez, his longtime creative partner, who will co-write the pilot with Wayans.

The untitled stand-up special picks up from his recent special “Woke-ish,” with an even deeper look at his life and times.

Suzanna Makkos, executive vice president of original comedy and animation for HBO Max, called Wayans “a triple threat.”

Wayans is the latest entertainer enlisted for stand-up specials with the streamer. HBO has also added Chelsea Handler, Tracy Morgan, John Early, Rose Matafeo, Ahir Shah and Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco, to its comedy roster.

Wayans will next be seen starring in “Respect” opposite Jennifer Hudson and “On the Rocks,” opposite Bill Murray and Rashida Jones.

HBO Max is also developing a dystopian drama, “In Memoriam,” from British playwright Charley Miles (“Blackthorn”). Niels Arden Oplev, who helmed “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” will direct the series.

Set in Britain in the near future, the human brain can no longer store long-term memory and depends on government chips. But at her mother’s death, a 17-year-old girl commits a crime: She implants her mother’s memory chip to discover her own identity. And that sends her into a spiraling world of authoritarianism and danger.

Separately, HBO Max returned “Gone With the Wind” to its line-up — but with a proviso. It is accompanied by a new, nearly five-minute introduction by TCM’s Jacqueline Stewart, professor of cinema at the University of Chicago.

While Stewart, who is African-American, says the film holds “undeniable cultural significance,” she also notes it denies “the horrors of slavery, as well as its legacies of racial inequality.” Her intro now provides viewers historical context.

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