Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner shares details of his Amazon series The Romanoffs

Director and producer Matthew Weiner (right) and his wife Linda Brettler at the Oscars Vanity Fair Party, on Feb 26, 2017.
Director and producer Matthew Weiner (right) and his wife Linda Brettler at the Oscars Vanity Fair Party, on Feb 26, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (NYTimes) - Russia, a daily fixture in the nation's headlines these days, will also figure prominently in Matthew Weiner's new series for Amazon.

Called The Romanoffs, the drama will be an eight-episode anthology series about people who believe they are descendants of the titular former ruling family of Russia, Weiner said.

The family, killed by Bolshevik revolutionaries in 1918, has been a popular subject of mystery lore, much of it positing that a daughter, Anastasia, escaped death and assumed a new identity. (The more common contemporary Anglicised spelling is "Romanov.")

The series will be Weiner's first since the end, in 2015, of his acclaimed drama Mad Men. The new show was announced in October but details were scarce until Weiner discussed them in interviews posted on Thursday (March 2) by Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

"We're at a place in our history where people are looking for a close connection to their roots, and for some kind of revelation about who they are," Weiner told Variety.

"There's great debate about who is a Romanoff and what happened to the Romanoffs. The story for me is that we're all questioning who we are and who we say we are."

Writing has begun on the show's eight episodes, which will cost around US$50 million (S$71 million) to produce. Each will feature self-contained stories - structurally closer to shows like The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror than a contemporary anthology series that tracks a single narrative over the course of a season.

Weiner will direct four of the eight episodes and "be writing as many as possible and overseeing the writers room the same way I did on Mad Men", he told The Hollywood Reporter. He has brought in several former Mad Men writers and producers and hopes to feature actors from that cast in The Romanoffs.

"I'm basically trying to get every single person who was involved with that show," he said. "As I said when Mad Men ended, I want to work with these people for the rest of my life. But we have a lot of new people - or people new to us - as well."

The Romanoffs likely will not debut until next year, Weiner said.

His first novel, Heather, The Totality, will be published by Little, Brown this fall.