HBO has its Golden Globe-winning Boardwalk Empire, TNT is developing L.A. Noir from The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont and now, Starz is assembling its own period crime-drama show - with assistance from a celebrated screenwriter – boasting the all-encompassing title Crime.
However, the TV series isn’t some abstract deconstruction of criminal activity, nor does it examine a variety of historical events commonly referred to as criminal in design (as the simple title seems to indicate). Instead, the setting is 1960s Britain and the subject material concerns all the crooked empires (and uncouth scandals) that stirred up trouble during that decade.
Starz is assuming all domestic pay television and home entertainment rights for Crime, with Henceforth Pictures and Sonar Entertainment co-partnering to back the series. The project is also the first TV show being produced by Atlas Entertainment, following theatrical entries in the crime genre like The Bank Job, The International and Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell’s currently-untitled movie about the ABSCAM scandal (from the Black-Listed American Bulls**t script).
William Monahan is writing the series, drawing from a film treatment concocted by Vanessa Sadler. The Oscar-winning screenwriter responsible for Martin Scorsese’s Boston crime tale The Departed is juggling his Crime responsibilities with a rewrite for American Desperado starring Mark Wahlberg (previously know as Cocaine Cowboys) and scripting duties on the Sympathy for Lady Vengeance remake with Charlize Theron attached. He’s also fresh off rewriting the screenplay for Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s neo-Noir graphic novel adaptation Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.
Here are statements from the official Crime press release (including Atlas head Charles Roven):
“We’re thrilled that our first foray in television has us working with the incredibly talented William Monahan on this unique show, and we’re excited to be sharing it with audiences not only in the U.S. but around the world,” said Charles Roven.
“There’s very little more interesting to me than the Sixties in Britain,” said Monahan, “taken from Profumo to psychedelia, from the London criminal world to the worlds of art and fashion – all of which continually intersected. I know one thing: it’s very, very, funny.”
“Set in a time and place that continues to fascinate, ‘Crime’ is a story that easily cuts across borders and cultures,” commented Stewart Till, CEO, Sonar Entertainment. “William Monahan’s script comes alive with an immediacy and intimacy that audiences will embrace with unqualified enthusiasm.”
Interestingly, HBO has initiated development on a TV series from Guillermo del Toro, based on material from the non-fiction crime book The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. That show might begin in the 1930s, but it’s expected to take place largely in the 1950s; moreover, the procedural focus further ensures it won’t overlap much (if at all) with Boardwalk Empire. Meanwhile, Crime is aiming to tap into the 1960s fascination that has allowed Mad Men to thrive – and perhaps offer a more colorful, foreign alternative to that examination of cultural upheaval in the 20th century.
Monhan previously transported British crime across the pond, with his script for the Mel Gibson thriller Edge of Darkness (based on the 1980s BBC mini-series). He also made his directorial debut a couple years ago, drawing from his own script for the Brit-centric tale of crooks and hit men London Boulevard. Needless to say, his involvement makes Crime sound all the more intriguing.
Screen Rant will keep you posted on Crime as more information is released.