EXCLUSIVE: Black Jack is coming to a TV near you. Entertainment One has acquired the worldwide rights to a television series based on the popular Japanese manga. The LA/Toronto-based indie studio, that produces ABC’s Rookie Blue and distributes AMC’s The Walking Dead, plans a possible live action series of the classic 1970/80s comic by Osamu Tezuka. Taka Ichise and Doug Davison, who worked together on Western adaptations of the Japanese movies The Ring and The Grudge, will executive produce the series for eOne. Dave Brown and Zadoc Angell of Artist International, who packaged the project, will also executive produce. Michael Rosenberg, Jen Chambers and Adam Blumberg will oversee the show on behalf of the indie studio. Since its first appearance in Japan in 1973, the Black Jack series has followed the adventures of its doctor/detective title character against terrorists and a global conspiracy. The Black Jack manga comics have sold over 50 million copies in Japan and are a cult hit around the world with a translated version available in the U.S. Tezuka is also known for his other characters of Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. There was an animated Japanese Black Jack TV series in 2004, as well as a Black Jack 21 spin-off in 2008. A first animated Black Jack film came out in 1996 and Black Jack: The Two Doctors of Darkness was …
EXCLUSIVE: Ving Rhames has been tapped to play the title character in Comedy Central’s pilot Black Jack, lifting the contingency on the project. The single-camera comedy, directed and executive produced by Pineapple Express helmer David Gordon Green, hails from Rough House, Green’s production company with Danny McBride, Jody Hill and Matt Reilly. Written by Michael Starrbury, it centers on Black Jack (Rhames) who, after 20 years as the most kick-ass special ops agent the US government has had on its payroll, finally goes too far and is de-commissioned. Comedy Central picked up the pilot last month contingent on finding the right actor for the lead. Green, Starrbury, McBride, Hill and Reilly are exec producing. This is the second time Rhames, repped by Innovative and Kramer Management, would play the title role in a series, following his starring turn on USA’s Kojak remake in 2005. He also played the title character in the 1997 HBO biopic Don King: Only in America, which earned him a Golden Globe win and an Emmy nomination. In features, he is best known for his roles in Mission: Impossible and Pulp Fiction.
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central is finalizing a deal for a pilot order to Black Jack. The single-camera comedy, directed and exec produced by Pineapple Express helmer David Gordon Green, hails from Rough House, Green’s production company with Danny McBride, Jody Hill and Matt Reilly. Black Jack, written by Michael Starrbury, centers on Black Jack who, after 20 years as the most kick-ass special ops agent the US government has had on its payroll, finally goes too far and is de-commissioned. He’s sent home to begin the most treacherous mission he’s ever faced — normal life. The order is expected to be cast-contingent, with the pilot going to production if the network finds the right actor for the lead. Green, Starrbury, McBride, Hill and Reilly, all repped by CAA, are exec producing. Green most recently created the upcoming MTV animated series Good Vibes and helmed the feature comedy Your Highness starring McBride, Natalie Portman, James Franco and Zooey Deschanel, which opens April 8. Green also serves as consulting producer/director on McBride’s HBO comedy series Eastbound & Down.
Black Jack is the latest pilot order by Comedy Central, which recently greenlighted Playing with Guns, starring Danny Masterson and Ethan Suplee; Waiting…, based on the 2005 indie; an untitled comedy from comedian Matt Braunger and writer Brent Forrester; and an animated pilot from production company ShadowMachine.