How is this for intriguing mix of creative auspices — filmmaker Spike Lee, former boxing champion Mike Tyson and Entourage creator Doug Ellin have come together to produce a drama series project for HBO, written by John Ridley and to be directed by Lee. The project, titled Da Brick, is described as a contemporary exploration of what it means to be a young, black man in supposedly post-racial America and is loosely inspired by aspects of Tyson’s youth. Is its set in current-day Newark, NJ, nicknamed “brick city.” While the project is still in development, HBO has hired a casting director to explore casting choices for the lead, looking for young black actors who are also credible in the boxing ring.
Tyson appeared in a 2010 episode of Ellin’s HBO comedy series Entourage, playing himself. The original germ of an idea for Da Brick came out of a meeting the two had on the set of the veteran comedy, which was inspired by Mark Wahlberg’s early years in Hollywood. “That’s when Mike asked me, why don’t do with my life what we did with Mark’s life,” Ellin said. “The initial idea was ‘Entourage meets The Wire‘, an edgy story about an up-and-coming boxer and his crew that is much more dramatic than Entourage.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh, whose best-known novel Trainspotting was made into an as-well-known movie directed by Danny Boyle, will write a screen adaptation himself, this time for the small screen. Welsh has been tapped to write a script for a drama series based on the Ian Palmer-directed documentary Knuckle, which is in development at HBO. Described as Fight Club meets Sons of Anarchy, the docu, which was filmed over 12 years, is about two Irish families who settle a longstanding dispute by periodically engaging in bare-knuckle bouts, beating each other to bloody pulps, and focuses on two brothers, James Quinn and Michael McDonagh. The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where its remake rights sparked interest from several parties. HBO ultimately landed the project, with Danny McBride, Jody Hill and David Gordon Green’s Rough House Pictures, which produces HBO’s comedy Eastbound & Down, attached to produce. Now Hill is also attached to direct the potential pilot. Additionally, Rough House’s Matt Reilly, Teddy Leifer of Rise Films, which produced the documentary, and Palmer are also producing. Welsh is with UK’s Independent Talent Group and Underground Films & Management. Hill, who co-created Eastbound & Down and directed several episodes, including the pilot, is with CAA.