FX recently announced that it had ordered the pilot to Hoke, a potential new series based on the novels of famed crime-author Charles Willeford, that would see Paul Giamatti as the perpetually bedraggled and potentially insane homicide detective Hoke Moseley.
Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Scott Frank – whose most recent credits are this summer’s The Wolverine and a rewrite on the upcoming Assassin’s Creed film – is spearheading the series, along with Giamatti and Academy Award-winner Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys) as executive producers. Frank has already written the pilot’s script and will also serve as that episode’s director, as well as the series’ showrunner should the network decide (wisely) to pick it up.
FX president of original programming Eric Schrier had this to say:
“Like Elmore Leonard, Charles Willeford is one of the most deeply respected writers of crime fiction and he created a wholly original and colorful lead character in Detective Hoke Mosely. Scott Frank delivered a magnificent script and we are honored that Paul Giamatti will bring Hoke to life.”
The comparison to the late Elmore Leonard is exciting for two reasons. 1) Adaptations of Leonard’s novels have resulted in many fine and memorable motion pictures and one of the best series on television right now, in FX’s very own Justified, which suggests the network is the ideal home for such material and, 2) Hoke writer, executive producer and director of the soon-to-be-filming pilot, Scott Frank, is probably best known for bringing some of Leonard’s work to the screen, as his adaptations of Barry Sonnenfeld’s Get Shorty and Steven Soderbergh’s superlative Out of Sight (for which he received one of his Oscar nominations) were highly praised by critics.
For those familiar with Willeford’s work, Hoke will revolve mainly around New Hope for the Dead and Sideswipe, the second and third novels in the Hoke Moseley series (unless you count the unpublished and aptly titled Grimhaven, which would have been the sequel to Miami Blues, had it not been considered too dark and unsuitable for publication). Like Leonard, Willeford’s novels are populated by colorful and unruly lowlifes and outcasts that generally wade through the seedy underbelly of places like Miami – which the author paints as the preeminent crime destination in the United States – inadvertently murdering Hare Krishnas and/or stealing the badges, guns and false teeth of hardboiled detectives. And yet, through it all, Willeford’s books read as humorous as they are unsentimental.
Should the series be picked up, Hoke will mark the first regular TV gig for Giamatti, who joins several highly-recognizable character actors like Kevin Spacey, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michael Sheen, Mark Strong and, of course, American Horror Story‘s Jessica Lange in making the jump from feature films to ambitious sounding television projects, suggesting that the medium’s golden age may not be ending as soon as many have foretold.
More importantly, it sounds like FX president John Landgraf is making good on his efforts to sculpt FX and its soon-to-launch sister network FXX into twin destinations for top-notch talent to bring the kinds of stories they want to tell, as Hoke may very well end up joining two other high-profile dramas that are in the works: Guillermo del Toro’s horror series The Strain and the Homeland-y sounding Tyrant from (oddly enough) Homeland and 24 executive producer Howard Gordon.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on all the news concerning Hoke and all the goings-on at FX.
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