Amazon commissions dark comedy 'The Consultant'

10 December 2021 3 min. read
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Two-time Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz is set to helm a new series on Amazon Prime. Titled ‘The Consultant’ , the show is set to examine the demands of a particularly sinister businessman.

Since his Hollywood breakthrough in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’, Christoph Waltz has never shied away from playing the villain. With some notable exceptions – including ‘Django Unchained’ where he won his second Academy Award – Waltz has become something of a one-man rogue’s gallery; with notable roles even including iconic Bond baddie Ernst Stavro Blofeld in ‘Spectre’ and ‘No Time to Die’.

Some might argue, having been cast as every other undesirable under the sun, it was only a matter of time before Waltz would land the kind of gig Amazon has reportedly lined him up for. As the rivalry between online content providers continues to heat up, Amazon has ordered the dark comedy ‘The Consultant’ to series, with Waltz to star.

Amazon commissions dark comedy 'The Consultant'

Based on Bentley Little’s 2015 novel of the same name, ‘The Consultant’ will follow a sinister relationship between a boss and employee, examining the exploitative limits workers can be pushed to, to get ahead and survive. Waltz will also serve as an executive producer, alongside creator and showrunner Tony Basgallop, director Matt Shakman, Steve Stark and Andrew Mittman. Meanwhile, Kai Dolbashian will serve as the show’s co-producer.

Speaking to entertainment magazine Variety on the project, Basgallop noted, “It’s a huge honour to be working with the talents of Matt Shakman and Christoph Waltz on this project that I developed with the team at 1.21 and Toluca Pictures… And with MGM [who are also behind the production] and Amazon Studios we’ve found partners who are not afraid to be bold and explosive.”

Without getting into spoilers, the story of the original novel ‘The Consultant’ centres on CompWare: a firm in financial turmoil after a merger falls through. As with so many firms in that situation, as the company looks to balance the books and bolster its public image, it brings in a consulting firm to review and streamline their business practices.

While that sounds fairly typical, the firm’s employees get an odd feeling about the firm hired, and specifically, the strange expert who arrives to supervise the project. Mr Patoff is described as tall and thin and wearing a bow tie, and “with an odd smile that never quite reaches his eyes.” Whether that is typical of many firms who contract talent from the world’s largest consulting firms might depend who you ask; but in this case, something is definitely wrong. What ensues is, as Michael Wright, President of Scripted TV at MGM described it, “a biting workplace satire that is as suspenseful as it is darkly funny.”

Speaking on the slated series, Amazon Studios Head of Television Vernon Sanders remarked, “With ‘The Consultant,’ Tony Basgallop has created something fearless with equal parts savage humour and delicious thrills… We are excited to collaborate with him and the entire creative team in bringing this edge-of-your seat, can’t-miss series to our Prime Video customers across the globe.”

It is not the first time the professional services world has been skewered in pursuit of satire. In 2016, Ben Aflleck starred in ‘The Accountant’, a film in which his character worked for various illegal companies and manipulates their financial records. When the FBI learns about his operations, the crooked book-keeper takes up a legitimate client in an attempt to bluff the officers. Meanwhile, in the 2012 ‘House of Lies’, Don Cheadle starred as a highly successful management consultant, trying anything and everything possible to provide his clients with significant information.