EXCLUSIVE: HBO has optioned Michael Gross’ upcoming non-fiction book Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles for a TV series. The Matrix producer Joel Silver, who found the book and brought it to HBO, is in negotiations to executive produce the series project, which is looking for a writer. In Unreal Estate, Gross explores the history of 16 estates in Los Angeles’ most exclusive enclaves — Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, and Beverly Park — as well as juicy details from the lives of their famous owners. The cast of characters features a slew of Hollywood stars who have passed through the houses over the years, including Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Marilyn Monroe, George Hamilton, Harold Lloyd, Jayne Mansfield, Tony Curtis, Sonny and Cher, as well as decadent Spanish land-grant families, desperado oilmen and railroad titans, corporate moguls, con men, porn magnates and tabloid fixtures. The potential series is envisioned as a drama with soapy and comedic elements. Gross’ book, a follow-up to his 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building, a similar historic look at the residents of Manhattan’s glitziest residential building, goes on sale Tuesday. Here is a promo, in which Gross takes a look at some of the mansions featured in the book, from the Crown Publishing Group. Silver’s series producing credits include cult faves Veronica Mars and Moonlight.
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