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As posted on THR, Jim Uhls has been chosen to write Trent Reznor’s HBO/BBC WorldWide Productions miniseries Year Zero. The show will be based on the storyline of the Nine Inch Nails concept album by the same name released in 2007, and it’s accompanying alternate reality game.
Year Zero was mostly written, and essentially recorded, by Reznor on a support tour for the ‘With Teeth’ album in 2006 with little more than a laptop. The album Differed greatly sonically from past NIN efforts by not being as heavily instrumentation based. A result of the limitations and explorations Reznor had to acknowledge while working outside of a studio setting. It also took NIN to a very different place stylistically, showcasing a reflection on outward versus inner turmoil told from the perspective of someone other than the self.
The scene painted by the 16 track LP is a dark prediction of dystopia set in the year 2022 where Bush-era geopolitics have been able to run their course, turning the world into a living nightmare on it’s last leg. Church and State no longer stand separate, and fear mongering is the only way. An implacable entity, never really fully revealed to be the result of psychosis or of supernatural origin, watches disapprovingly, deciding that the time for man’s self made inferno is up.
The alternate reality game for Year Zero, created by award winning 42 Entertainment, started with the spelling out in bold letters on a NIN tour shirt of ‘I AM TRYING TO BELIEVE.’ This led to the finding of website iamtryingtobelieve . Key words and findings on this site led to the discovery of many more which revealed different pieces making up the world of Year Zero, and a calender timeline placing it in year 2022. In the game, songs off the album are transmissions from the future sent through wormholes using quantum physics by a resistance group. Each is meant as a different side of the story. The President, an ill-spirited soldier, a hate spewing preacher, the looming presence toying with the idea of violent destruction, the last moments of life on earth, the cries of rebellion against the man, and even a reflection after it all on what went so very wrong. The websites also offered recordings, and video to further explain elements such as government raids, subversive drugs in the water, and evidence of the being known as ‘the presence.’
The game crossed into real life with an individually numbered list of user names off NIN fan forums showing them as part of the active resistance, and whether they had made it out alive so far. USB drives with high-quality files of the yet unreleased album tracks ‘Survivalism,’ and ‘My Violent Heart’ were hidden at concerts. An actual ‘Open Resistance’ meeting was held in Los Angeles for a handful of fans which included a performance from NIN that ended with a mock raid to mirror a story on one of the ARG websites.
Much has changed professionally for Trent Reznor in the years following ‘Year Zero.’ He has “Waved Goodbye'” to touring under his two decade held moniker of Nine Inch Nails, and successfully crossed over into the world of filmscores with ‘The Social Network.’ He is currently working on the score for ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’
It will be interesting to see what other genres he can cross with this miniseries, and where the somewhat twisted mind of Jim Uhls can take Reznor’s vision of a bleak future with his severe brand of tale weaving.
There is no set date confirmation as of yet for the release of the ‘Year Zero’ miniseries on the HBO airwaves.