EXCLUSIVE: Cinemax has given a pilot greenlight to Blanco, a drama project which has cast Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead) as the lead. Feature director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) will direct the pilot, from Fox TV Studios and Lakeshore Entertainment. Blanco, which had been heating up at Cinemax since the summer, with the producers exploring casting and directing options, was written by Mark Rosner (Blue Bloods). It centers on Ruben (Fernandez), an uptown gangster — nicknamed Blanco for being a light-skinned Dominican — who uses his status as a confidential informant to turn the tables on law enforcement and build his criminal empire. Rosner and Lakeshore’s Gary Lucchesi and Tom Rosenberg are executive producing the pilot with Fresnadillo. Fernandez, repped by WME, Untitled Entertainment and Jackoway Tyerman, got his break on the cult CBS drama Jericho before segueing to features. He recently wrapped Return To Sender, serves as co-writer, producer, and star of the upcoming indie Queen Of Carthage and next will be seen in Gregg Araki’s White Bird In A Blizzard. At Cinemax, Blanco joins fellow drama pilot Quarry. HBO’s sibling network also has 10-part series The Knick coming up, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Clive Owen.
EXCLUSIVE: Andre Holland (42), Juliet Rylance (Sinister), Eve Hewson (Enough Said) and Michael Angarano (Empire State) are set to co-star opposite Clive Owen in Cinemax‘s 10-part series The Knick, directed by Steven Soderbergh. Oscar winner Soderbergh is set to direct all 10 episodes of the project, written by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler. Set in downtown New York in 1900, The Knick centers on Knickerbocker Hospital and the groundbreaking surgeons, nurses and staff who push the bounds of medicine in a time of astonishingly high mortality rates and zero antibiotics. Holland, repped by Paradigm and Brookside Artist Management, will play Algernon, a gifted, black Harvard-trained surgeon who fights for respect in the hospital while trying to navigate his way through the racially charged turn-of-the-century NYC.
EXCLUSIVE: HBO/Cinemax and The X Files alum Frank Spotnitz are developing Sam Hunter, a drama starring Melissa George to air on Cinemax. A spinoff of Cinemax’s Hunted, the action series sees George reprising her role as Sam, a gutsy agent in the murky world of private espionage. Now on the run from her former employer, Sam has a price on her head and a young daughter to protect. She must work as a freelance spy to find out who wants her dead — and how it connects to the murder of her own mother. Cinemax is planning to launch Sam Hunter as a four-hour miniseries, which Spotnitz is currently writing. Cinemax has been looking to keep Hunted alive in some form since partner BBC One last November opted not to renew the series for a second season.
Game Of Thrones‘ recurring player Noah Taylor has been cast opposite Logan Marshall-Green in Quarry, a drama pilot for HBO sibling Cinemax. Written by Graham Gordy and Michael D. Fuller based on the series of novels by Max Allan Collins, Quarry is set in the 1970s and centers on a Marine sniper (Marshall-Green) who, upon his return home from Vietnam in 1973, finds himself shunned by those he loves and demonized by the public. Taylor will play Buddy, a hitman who helps Quarry learn the ropes.
Cinemax has given a pilot order to Quarry, a drama project based on the series of novels by Max Allan Collins (Road To Perdition graphic novel). Written by Graham Gordy and Michael D. Fuller, Quarry is set in the 1970s and centers on a Marine sniper who, upon his return home from Vietnam in 1973, finds himself shunned by those he loves and demonized by the public. Combat-hardened and disillusioned, he’s recruited into a network of contract killers and corruption spanning the length of the Mississippi River. John Hillcoat is set to direct the pilot, co-produced by Anonymous Content. Hillcoat, Gordy and Fuller, all CAA and Anonymous clients, executive produce with Anonymous’ Steve Golin, David Kanter, Matt DeRoss and Keith Redmon.
Cinemax has renewed Banshee for a second season three weeks into the action series’ freshman run. The second season of the drama, executive produced by Alan Ball, Jonathan Tropper, David Schickler, Peter Macdissi and Greg Yaitanes, will air in 2014. In its January 11 premiere, Banshee drew a respectable 483,000 viewers at 10 PM and 965,000 over three airings. This is the first truly homegrown Cinemax series, having started as a project in development at sibling HBO. It joins Strike Back as the second Cinemax series to score a second-season renewal.
HBO’s sister channel Cinemax has put in development Kingpin, an hourlong drama from Black List writer Chad St. John (Ronin) and Will Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment. It is one of two drama projects St. John and Overbrook are collaborating on, along with Watchlist, which recently sold to Fox. Both are executive produced by St. John, his wife Viruna Arend and Lassiter.
Kingpin centers on a crafty and careful mid-level drug trafficker trying to get out of the business. He is blackmailed back into it by a dirty DEA agent — who’s really a dirty CIA agent, because the agency can no longer work with murderous cartels — who plans to make the trafficker a puppet kingpin…a tidbit the trafficker and his partners will wish someone would have told them.