Crystal Lake staffers weigh in on why the Friday The 13th series got slashed

Production on the high-budget A24 series abruptly halted in May after showrunners Bryan Fuller and Jim Danger Gray were fired

Crystal Lake staffers weigh in on why the Friday The 13th series got slashed
Friday The 13th Part VIII; Bryan Fuller Photo: Paramount; Amanda Edwards/WireImage

A24's first major foray into IP-driven content went better than its fan cult could have ever imagined. And by that, we mean it died as violently as one of the teenage counselors in Friday The 13th, the movie it attempted to adapt.

Last year, A24 secured the rights to the major horror franchise and announced a new, $85 million Peacock series interpolating the original films, to be called Crystal Lake. Hannibal and Pushing Daisies creator, Bryan Fuller, along with his frequent collaborator, Jim Danger Gray, were tapped as showrunners. Charlize Theron was in conversation to play original killer Pam Voorhees, and a $300,000 deposit was reportedly put down on a soundstage in Canada.

Then, last month—three months before production was supposed to begin—Fuller posted on Instagram, “For reasons beyond our control, A24 has elected to go a different way with the material.” His post also contained what seemed like a particularly pointed comment: “These shows require a vision that elevates and transforms, as well as delivers what audiences have come to expect, which is an ambitious and risky endeavor. It requires people to take the leap with me.”

Clearly, something went down behind the scenes, but even with a lengthy report from The Wrap, it’s unclear exactly what. Sources from A24 and the series’ production team disagree on who (or what) exactly was at fault, from a ballooning budget to inexperienced executives to conflicts with Fuller and Gray. While a source from A24 said the studio simply “didn’t feel confident” and “had to pull the plug,” a different person close to the production said, “It felt like everybody on the Bryan/Jim side were trying very hard to make the show. A24 felt like they were doing everything they could to not make the show.”

One conflict had to do with the writer’s room. After the WGA strike resolved in September, A24 allegedly refused to convert the development room they had set up into a full-fledged, paid writers’ room, as required by the new contract. A source for A24, however, denied that any violations were committed and claimed that it was actual Fuller who blocked the writer’s room from forming. “It was never like it was never happening,” they said. “It was purely how does it look—are people coming for the whole production or part of the production? We still had a budget that was wildly over.”

Speaking of Fuller, sources claimed the showrunner was too focused on his upcoming movie, Dust Bunny, to really pay attention to Crystal Lake. (The article did not mention the fact that Fuller was also sued for sexual harassment on the set of Shudder’s Queer For Fear in October 2023.)

There were also disputes about the budget and management of the series. In a meeting, A24's production head, Inman Young, reportedly claimed the show was “100%” over budget, while documents reviewed by The Wrap seemed to suggest the $85 million show was only over by about $4-$6 million for the entire season. Sources close to the production also claimed that A24 didn’t really know how running a show worked, while the studio responded by pointing to The Sympathizer, their recent HBO series, that had “1.5 times the budget of Crystal Lake.”

The result of all this back and forth is that the whole project comes off as a ball of miscommunication and mess. While always disappointing to see a series fall apart like this, it sounds like it may have been for the best to pump the breaks—at least for now. Still, Crystal Lake may not be dead in the water just yet. “We believe in the show,” said a source from A24. “We’re going to make it.”

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