Practically a shoe-in for a second season after the Martin Scorsese-directed pilot aired on HBO last year, Boardwalk Empire is announcing the casting of more famous gangsters set to appear in the series as filming on season two nears.

One tantalizing bit of casting news is the announcement that the role of Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel has gone to Rescue Me actor, Michael Zegen.

As made apparent by the above picture, Zegen will clearly portray a much younger and less experienced Siegel than the one Warren Beatty portrayed in the 1991 Barry Levinson film Bugsy. In fact, age is the reason Zegen’s ‘Bugsy’ will go by the more familiar version of Siegel’s first name, ‘Benny,’ instead of the moniker that would eventually make him infamous – as that nickname wasn’t adopted until the late 1930s.

This younger take on the ‘Bugsy’ character, described as a “tough, smart urban kid,” sounds like it will bring even more fuel to the slow burn that is Boardwalk Empire.

Watching someone develop into the person (good or bad) you know they are going to become is a staple of both powerful drama and underwhelming prequels. Clearly, this is intended to be the former. Adding some spice to the fictionalized early days of ‘Bugsy’ Siegel is the likelihood of seeing him cross paths with other gangsters that currently populate the world of Boardwalk Empire. Let us not forget that along with the semi-fictional Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), Zegen will be joining the likes of Al Capone (Stephen Graham) and Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano (Vincent Piazza), who play key parts in the criminal world of the show. Watching a burgeoning ‘Bugsy’ meet up with an unrefined Al Capone or ‘Lucky’ Luciano could be a real treat.

Zegen will join stars Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt

Thus far, HBO has done a tremendous job with the program, and while Zegen’s casting is one I’m sure very few saw coming, the success of Boardwalk Empire should leave many confident that there are some interesting plans ahead for the young crime king. Certainly the show has revealed a knack for putting character before star power, and HBO’s version of ‘Bugsy’ will greatly impact the goings on in the underground world of Boardwalk Empire.

What do you think? Are there enough gangsters in Boardwalk Empire already, or will the addition of a young ‘Bugsy’ Siegel entice you to watch?

Boardwalk Empire will begin its second season in the fall of 2011 on HBO.

Source: TV Line