DC’s popular Vertigo Comics graphic novel series Scalped has been in the works for a TV pilot on WGN America since 2014, but the long-gestating project has had trouble getting off the ground. Scalped, based on Jason Aaron and R. M. Guéra’s acclaimed comic series of the same name, was reportedly in development two years ago but did not officially get the green light until March 2016.
DC President and Executive producer Geoff Johns (The Flash, Arrow) has had writer Doug Jung (Star Trek: Beyond) on board as a co-producer for months, but took his time to find the right director for the pilot episode of Scalped. The story follows a power struggle in a Native American community led by Chief Lincoln Red Crow. After a months-long search, Scalped has finally found its guys – and yes, there are two of them.
As reported by Deadline, Scalped is ready to move forward with Belgian writer/director duo Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi to helm a pilot episode for WGN. Fallah and El Arbi are best known for the 2015 film Black, a gritty drama that follows a 15-year-old girl in Brussels who falls in love with a member of a local rival gang and finds herself torn between loyalties. The duo is also set to direct the franchise revival Beverly Hills Cop 4, which has Eddie Murphy slated to return as Axel Foley.
The Scalped TV series is expected to eschew big-name actors in favor of a predominantly Native American cast in an effort to bring a level of authenticity to the project. Deadline describes the show’s plans for a mostly Native American cast “a first for a television series in recent history.” The pilot is expected to be written by Jung, who also wrote two episodes of Banshee on Cinemax.
Fallah and El Arbi also directed the pilot episode for John Singleton’s drug war drama Snowfall, which has been picked up to series on FX. Between the Beverly Hills Cop revival and their two high-profile TV gigs, they have the potential to emerge as a formidable new directing duo. Black has already won the Discovery Award at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, so their work on series like Scalped and Snowfall has a chance to raise their profile even further.
There is some legitimate rising talent in the fold here with Fallah, El Arbi, and Jung, but Scalped is also inevitably going to be taking some risks as well. The directors remain relatively unproven and the cast will likely be filled with unknowns. But Scalped is certainly drawing from strong source material, and Fallah and El Arbi’s experience making Black will serve them well with a story of this nature. Fans of Scalped have reason to be excited as the project finally moves forward with its directors locked in.
Scalped currently has no release date, but we will keep you updated as new reports come out.