After Rick Famuyiwa departed as director for the upcoming The Flash movie in October, fans were left not only disappointed and wondering who would replace him but what future project the Dope director would attach himself to next. Seeing as Famuyiwa left over creative differences (and was not the only director to leave the project), it was reasonable to assume that he would return to his low-budget film roots and create something original. Now, thanks to a spec pilot script that came from the mind of Dear White People helmer Lena Waithe, there’s new information to suggest the director will be going in a different direction entirely.
In summer of 2015, Waithe’s original script was shot as a pilot with producer Aaron Kaplan for Showtime but never materialized as a show. Now, after some retooling of the pilot script and producing of outlines for future episodes, it looks like Famuyiwa has attached himself to the project for the foreseeable future.
According to Deadline, Famuyiwa will direct the pilot for the upcoming unnamed drama series, which will be set in Chicago and focus on a young African-American male protagonist in a coming-of-age type story in which “just growing up can be a matter of life and death.” Famuyiwa will also serve as an executive producer for the show, while Elwood Reid (The Bridge) will pick up showrunning duties. The rumor is that the series will have a 10-episode first season, though that’s obviously not confirmed at this point.
It’s interesting that Famuyiwa decided to make this Chicago-set drama his next project, but not actually all that surprising. Dope had several coming-of-age elements centered on African-American characters, and given Waithe’s Dear White People, it’s only natural that he’d be drawn to such a compelling project. A television show also allows for long-form storytelling and serving as an executive producer (and potentially director of future episodes) could give him more of the creative freedom he craves. On the other side of that, it also doesn’t entirely tie Famuyiwa down should future projects arise.
Naturally, some fans may be disappointed either way, given the excitement surrounding Famuyiwa’s version of The Flash before his eventual departure. While that’s certainly fair, it’s hard to fault the writer/director for wanting more creative freedom in his projects, especially given all of the notorious rumors surrounding DC executives supposedly interfering heavily in films like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice creatively. Either way, fans of Famuyiwa and his unique style will be excited at the prospect of seeing it translated to the small screen.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on any information for the unnamed Showtime drama as it develops.