Michael Eisner’s Vuguru is teaming up with publisher G.P. Putnam to create an online episodic prequel for the upcoming Robin Cook book Foreign Body. Vuguru has once again tapped Big Fantastic to write and direct the series, with Cyber Group Animation co-producing. Foreign Body will be much more ambitious than the previous Vuguru/Big Fantastic production Prom Queen, with a much higher budget and scenes shot on location in India.
Foreign Body is about the dark side of medical tourism; some of the shooting was done in India in order to make the series more authentic. “Traveling and shooting in India is very expensive,” said Big Fantastic’s Ryan Wise. Though he wouldn’t get specific, Wise confirmed an earlier report that puts Foreign Body‘s budget at around $10,000 per episode. With 50 two-minute episodes in the series, that puts the total cost at about $500,000.
Of course, as the NY Post notes, they’ll sell ads to help recoup some of that cost. But since the series is intended to be promotional for the book, fully recouping the cost might not be as much of an issue, and chances are good that Putnam is kicking in a some cash, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Cook, whose best-sellers include Coma and Outbreak, wrote a “bare bones” outline that Big Fantastic is turning into a script. “We’re in the middle of writing and casting right now,” said Wise. With the show scheduled to debut on May 28, that just leaves four months for production. “It’s aggressive, but that’s how we do it,” he said. “We’re cutting while we’re shooting. Last time on Prom Queen we were shooting while it was airing. This thing will be a little easier than that. We’ll have it all shot, and just be editing while its airing.”
Also unknown at this point is where the series will run and if any distributor will have exclusivity the way Prom Queen did with MySpace.
Vuguru had a hit in Prom Queen, but it remains to be seen if the combination of a well-known author, exotic locales and higher production values will keep this Foreign Body from being D.O.A.