New Line Cinema is moving ahead with a feature adaptation of THE KITCHEN, a comic series written by up-and-comer Ollie Masters with illustrations by Ming Doyle and published by Vertigo Comics. Straight Outta Compton scribe Andrea Berloff is set to pen the script. The comic has been celebrated for its reinvention of the classic mobster genre by putting empowered women at the center of the story.
The Kitchen is set in New York City of the late 1970s, when Times Square is a haven for sex and drugs. The city teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, while blackouts can strike at any moment. The Irish gangs of Hell’s Kitchen rule the neighborhood, bringing terror to the streets and doing the dirty work for the Italian Mafia. Jimmy Brennan and his crew were the hardest bastards in the Kitchen, but after they’re all put in prison, their wives – Kath, Raven and Angie – decide to keep running their rackets. And once they get a taste of the fast life and easy money, it won’t be easy to stop.
The era depicted played an important role in creating the series, Masters said in 2014. “Crime was rife and places like Hell’s Kitchen had a lawless feel to them. Gangsters were a part of everyday life and it could be a dangerous place to be, but there was also this sense that society was changing. You can hear it reflected in the music that was coming out of NYC at the time. Also, as a guy from Britain, New York (especially in the 70s) is so iconic. It’s somewhere I’ve seen in films and heard in music my entire life, so for me it has a real mysterious, exciting feel to it.”
Masters has recently been tapped to pen a Sons Of Anarchy comic book prequel series Redwood Original. The story will center around an 18-year-old version of Charlie Hunnam’s Jax Teller as he works to become a full club member. The series hails from Boom! Studios with whom Masters previously worked on Snow Blind.
Berloff, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her work on the Straight Outta Compton screenplay, is also in development with The Legend of Conan at Universal and the sports betting drama Dangerous Odds, which has Margot Robbie attached to star. Berloff also adapted the script for Blood Father starring Mel Gibson, set for release later this year.
Vertigo – an imprint of DC Comics – has become a go-to in recent years for dark, inventive material worthy of an adaptation. Vertigo is the publisher of Sandman from Neil Gaiman, a film version of which is in the works, and Preacher, which recently premiered on AMC as a new series from Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin.
Sam Brown and Michael Disco are executive producing for New Line, the studio that owns the rights to Vertigo properties. The pair are also behind this summer’s big action comedy Central Intelligence, while Disco has also executive produced the femme-centric comedies How To Be Single and Hot Pursuit. New Line currently has hit thriller The Conjuring 2 playing in theaters.
Josh Lyons | Managing Editor