Acclaimed filmmaker and one of the main creative forces behind AMC's The Walking Dead, Frank Darabont, is starting up a new television series on TNT entitled L.A. Noir.
Before you get too riled up, no, this series apparently has nothing to do with Rockstar Games' genre hit. That game was L.A. Noire - with an "e" tacked on the end. Darabont's new series will be based on the non-fiction book by author John Buntin, with an actual title of L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City.
Buntin's book chronicles the longstanding struggle between then Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker and infamous mobster Mickey Cohen - which will also be the subject of Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer's upcoming crime drama flick, The Gangster Squad. Of course, such a topic becomes incredibly tantalizing in the hands of a storyteller like Darabont, and after the success HBO has had with its own period drama Boardwalk Empire (similarly crafted by Terence Winter from the non-fiction book: Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City), it's easy to see why TNT might be eager to get this project rolling.
Initial reports are that Darabont will be handling the scripting and directing duties for the pilot episode, and then will likely settle into an executive producer position once (and if) L.A. Noir gets picked up for series.
In regards to the series and the subject matter, Darabont had this to say:
"Noir is a passion of mine, so I feel blessed to delve into a project that speaks in the hardboiled vernacular. John Buntin's superb book, though non-fiction, is our touchstone and inspiration for the stories we'll be telling, weaving fiction throughout the facts and facts throughout the fiction. The book provides elements that are irresistible, a big canvas with endless possibilities. The goal is to deliver on the tone that the title L.A. Noir promises: a smart, gritty, authentic, period noir drama."
Needless to say, TNT is likely more excited at the prospect of working with Darabont - for the talent and attention his name brings; a similar tactic they employed when bringing about last summer’s sci-fi series Falling Skies from Steven Spielberg.
Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TNT was quoted as saying:
"This project is a sweeping tale of the battle for the soul of the city that was waged between the forces of the LAPD and the West Coast mob. We're thrilled to be working with Frank Darabont and Michael De Luca, two award-winning storytellers behind some of the most entertaining films of the past two decades, as they to bring this intense and exciting crime-drama to TNT."
Of course the most dramatic element regarding this proposed series is the fact that Darabont is returning to television so soon after his dismissal from The Walking Dead – a move that left many fans (and the cast) reeling, since nearly everyone involved in the series had appeared together at SDCC. Initial reports claimed that Darabont’s departure was due in large part to his frustrations at the television process – which supposedly didn’t jive well with the director’s filmmaking sensibilities. Later, it was alleged that he was shown the door due to a dispute over significant budget cutbacks, and an ongoing, frequently heated discussion about such with Joel Stillerman, AMC’s head of original production.
What, if anything, do we take from this announcement, then? Clearly, Darabont is jumping back in the proverbial saddle by starting yet another ambitious sounding television series - which directly contradicts the early assertions as to why his time with AMC was cut short. Perhaps TNT will be the network that grants him the freedom to make a series as he sees fit, and fans can continue watching a program with Darabont's talent at the helm.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more news on L.A. Noir and other Darabont dealings.