…And we really hope you’ll listen (or at least read) cuz we really, really, really love this man’s work. He’s such a good writer that whenever we’re watching LIMITLESS we become absolutely convinced that Matt himself is on NZT.
by Jeff Sorensen
In 2011, Bradley Cooper starred in the film Limitless, a film about a struggling writer who is given an experimental pill that allows him to use 100% of his brain. He soon becomes incredibly successful, but the side-effects are very dangerous as he continues taking the pill called NZT. His new abilities and his rise to the top has attracted the attention of very powerful and dangerous people.
Limitless was a box office success after grossing over $161 million on a budget of $27 million. After the movie was over, I wanted more of this universe. A super-pill that allows someone to basically have a brain that can do all of that stuff? Someone should write a graphic novel sequel or create a television show about this movie. Luckily, Craig Sweeny came to CBS with a pitch for a show based on the events after the film, and the Limitless series was born.
Premise: Limitless follows Brian Finch, who, possessed of extraordinary cognitive powers thanks to the mysterious drug NZT, works with the FBI to help solve complex cases. Working with him in New York City are Special Agent Rebecca Harris, an investigator with a dark past, and her confidant, Special Agent Boyle, who’s a former military officer. Brian also maintains a secret relationship with Sen. Edward Mora, a fellow user of the drug who has plans of his own for his protege.
SOCIAL UNDERGROUND: When you first saw the pilot for Limitless, did you think taking the job for a TV show based on a film could work for the long term? And also, what was your initial impression of it (obviously it was good to take the job), but did ideas start firing in your head because you saw potential?
Matthew Federman: My writing partner (Stephen Scaia) and I weren’t looking to staff last season, we had been working in features and developing our own TV ideas. When our agent contacted us and mentioned Limitless, our first reaction was “no thanks.” Frankly, we probably imagined the same bad version of that idea as a CBS procedural that many other people did. Our agent, being smarter than us, asked us to just read the pilot. We did and were both more than pleasantly surprised at how funny and inventive it was. We found ourselves immediately talking about all the possibilities it opened up, which is the sign of a good pilot when you’re a writer looking to staff. Then we asked to see the pilot. Sometimes a great script can get muddled or lost in the process of being made, but Marc Webb’s direction was amazing and Jake McDorman (our lead, Brian Finch) was so damn charming….