EXCLUSIVE: The BBC America series ends Sunday but Copper may get a second life on the big screen. One day after the network announced that the Civil War-era series would be cancelled after two seasons, I’ve learned that co-creator/executive producer Tom Fontana and fellow EPs Barry Levinson and Tom Kelly are considering a movie version. The extensive story arc work Fontana did on a third season has the veteran producer eyeing revamping the material for a movie, sources say, with the potential big-screen version said to look at examining life in America after the death of Abraham Lincoln and the years of Reconstruction. Copper, which Fontana co-created with Will Rokos, was BBC America’s first original scripted series and centers on Irish immigrant cop Kevin Corcoran in 1860s New York City. It premiered in August 2012 with 1.1 million total viewers, the largest audience ever for a BBC America series debut. Copper was renewed last October but lost momentum after its June 23 Season 2 premiere.
Johnny Depp’s Production Co. Teams With Yellow Bird Prods. & Tom Fontana For Series Based On Shakespeare’s Plays
EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp‘s Infinitum Nihil has partnered with leading Scandinavian producer Yellow Bird Productions, which is behind the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo films, and Emmy-winning writer-producer Tom Fontana for a scripted series based on the plays of William Shakespeare.
Young writer Randall Fontana (no relation to Tom Fontana) will write the project, described as a modern take on the plays of The Bard, building on the existing characters and plots from several of his most notable plays. Infinitum Nihil, which is run by Depp’s sister Christi Dembrowski, Yellow Bird Prods, and Tom Fontana will executive produce.
A&E Network has teamed with Homicide alums Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson for The Box, a half-hour cop drama that takes place largely within the walls of the interrogation room. The cable network has ordered two scripts from the project, which will be written by Fontana. The Box features a small ensemble of detectives as they interrogate the key suspect or witness in a case. The spine of each half-hour episode will be the verbal dance between cop and suspect in “the box,” with the complete story of the crime, the investigation and the legal hurdles woven into and around the interrogation. The project expands on a key element from Homicide, where plots often pivoted on what the series called “The Box,” a sterile, rectangular interrogation room where suspects were brought in for questioning.
EXCLUSIVE: When feature producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald got their newly launched TV company up and running with the October hire of Ted Gold as president of television, it was the tail end of the broadcast selling season. So now they’re jumping right in, selling a project to NBC earlier this month under Parkes/MacDonald Prods.’ first-look deal with UMS. Tentatively titled Republic of Pirates, it became the first drama buy this development cycle for new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt and his team. Co-written by Jim Hart and Amanda Wells and executive produced by Parkes, MacDonald, Gold and Tom Fontana, the potential series is based on the book The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard. Set during the 10-year “Golden Age of Piracy” from 1715 to 1725, it follows some of the world’s most notorious pirates as they forge their own rogue nation, called New Providence, which became the first democracy in the Americas.
Probably spurred by the headline-making Somali pirates, pirate TV projects have been red-hot in the past couple of months, with Graham King and Gale Anne Hurd producing Port Royal for FX Prods. and Fox International Channels, which just tapped Scott Rosenbaum as writer, and Ridley and Tony Scott developing Pyrates, a 10- to 13-episode event-type limited series at Fox created by Barry Schindel and to be directed by Stephen Hopkins, which is eyed for next summer. While the sale of Republic of Pirates comes on the heels of the other pirate projects’ announcements, Parkes/MacDonald had been developing the project internally with Fontana since November, and it was picked up by NBC based on a very detailed pitch. Also, there is a big distinction between Republic of Pirates and the other two projects, Gold said. “The ‘pirates’ of all the other shows we know of — the ones who lived in the time of Ridley’s show and in the time of Port Royal -- were actually ‘privateers,’ private sailors and ships that were authorized by their governments to attack foreign shipping during wartime,” he said. “Our pirates are not ‘privateers’ working on behalf of other governments. They are disenfranchised or unemployed sailors who are completely self-governing and work on behalf or their own pirate nation.”