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Mel Gibson, whose last film Hacksaw Ridge won two technical Oscars out of six nominations, including one for Gibson’s direction, is looking to work with Chinatown screenwriter Robert Towne and Black Swan producer Mike Medavoy to turn Crumley’s novel into a series.
The project for the USA Network via Universal Cable Productions is in the early stages of development, so nothing has been greenlit yet, but Gibson plans to direct the pilot himself. It would only be the second time Gibson has directed something for television outside the 2004 ABC series Complete Savages.
Gibson will exec. produce the series along with Medavoy and Edward McGurn from Phoenix Pictures and Gibson’s Icon production partner Bruce Davey. Luisa Town, Anna Waterhouse and Lauren Weissman are co-executive producing while Towne will also be an exec. producer.
Crumley’s Montana-based novel Dancing Bear follows part-time detective Milo Dragovitch, who becomes involved in a series of conspiracies that involve blackmail, land grabs, guns, drugs and grizzly bears.
“It’s basically Chinatown set in a 7-11 in Montana in the ’70s with a whole lot of cocaine,” the always-controversial Gibson said in a statement.
The 83-year-old Towne has mainly been active in recent years as a consulting producer on AMC’s Mad Men, but his acclaimed screenplays include Chinatown and its sequel The Two Jakes, Shampoo and the first two Mission: Impossible movies. Towne directed the 2006 film Ask the Dust based on his own screenplay, that being his fourth film as a sirector.
Towne and Medavoy have been trying to figure out how to crack Crumley’s novel for some time, since it was set-up at TriStar Pictures to be turned into a film, but it’s now being retooled into an hour-long pilot.
The filmmakers’ plans were initially reported by Deadline.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor