Prime Video has refused to spent expense on its upcoming spy-thriller series Citadel. The show, starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Richard Madden, is yet to be released, some executives at the streamer are questioning why it has already been renewed for a second season, considering its difficult production and high costs. The Hollywood Reporter has cited a few sources close to the production of Citadel as claiming that the budget of the show has zoomed past the $300 million mark (nearly Rs 2500 crores), making it the second most expensive show of all time behind Prime Video’s own The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
In December 2021, Joe Russo intervened and replaced the showrunner Josh Appelbaum with Daniel Weil. According to a source, it was due to Joe’s intervention that the cost of production was increased as he “tossed out a huge bunch of material,” which caused massive reshoots. Mike Larocca, president and co-founder of AGBO, the Russos’ production company, clarified that the changes had to be made after feedback from the audience. “We felt like it needed some more character work early to draw people into the show. It was that straightforward,” he said.
Citadel was originally supposed to have eight, an hour-long episodes. But the streamer cut them down to six, 40 minute episodes. Despite this, the show has been renewed for a second season, already. A veteran at Amazon told the publication, “There are a couple of relationships where I don’t really understand the bet that is being made. But Jen (Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios) believes in the Russos.”
The reshoots also led to the cast members being paid “more than planned”, making a few Amazon executives find Priyanka Chopra’s claim about getting pay parity for the first time in her career funny.
They joked that it was ‘the first and the second time’, considering the extra money that she earned because of the reshoots. During an interview with Jennifer Salke at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) 2023, Priyanka claimed that it was only on Citadel that she received equal pay for the first time in her career. She said, “I’ve been working in the entertainment industry for now 22 years, and I have done almost 70-plus features and two TV shows. But when I did Citadel, it was the first time in my career that I had pay parity.”
Produced by Joe and Anthony Russo and planned as the ‘mothership’ show along with local versions in various countries, Citadel will start streaming on April 28. The series also stars Stanley Tucci, Lesley Manville as Dahlia Archer, Osy Ikhile as Carter Spence and Ashleigh Cummings as Abby Conroy.