It’s been well over a year since we heard any substantial news on the developing TV series adaptation of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas set up at AMC. However, it sounds like another one of the director’s projects is being lined up for a TV series as well.
Miramax and Scorsese are teaming up to develop the 2002 period crime drama Gangs of New York as a TV series. The series, which sounds a bit like Boardwalk Empire if it was set a century prior, will follow rival gangs in New York around the mid-to-late 1800s. But New York won’t be the only focal point.
Deadline says the series will also look at the birth of organized crime in America through Chicago and New Orleans as well.
According to Scorsese:
“This time and era of America’s history and heritage is rich with characters and stories that we could not fully explore in a two-hour film. A television series allows us the time and creative freedom to bring this colorful world, and all the implications it had and still does on our society, to life.”
Gangs of New York was actually closer to three hours long. Regardless, there’s still plenty of other stories to tell.
Considering the events of Gangs of New York focused on the rivalry of two specific gangs and their interaction with the law and impact on the historical foundation of what is called the Five Points in New York City, the series is broadening that window quite a bit to allow for all sorts of new material. It’s likely that the series won’t remake the events of the Oscar-nominated film, so I wouldn’t expect to see characters like Bill the Butcher or Amsterdam Vallon – played by Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio in the film, respectively – show up at all.
The similarities to Boardwalk Empire shouldn’t be surprising since Scorsese serves as executive producer of that HBO series. As of now, it’s not clear how involved Scorsese will be beyond development, but it would be nice if he at least directed the pilot, just like he did with the aforementioned cable series starring Steve Buscemi.
Period dramas have been doing just fine for themselves on TV lately. Mad Men is one of the most popular and critically lauded series on TV, and The Americans has been getting better every week. With the help of Scorsese and an established title that audiences are already familiar with, this series has the potential to be quite successful.
The Gangs of New York TV series is still early in development – the potential series doesn’t even have a network home yet – but we’ll keep you updated as more news becomes available.