’12 Years a Slave’ Director Prepping New HBO Drama Series with Russell Simmons

By October 30, 2013

Steve McQueen - HBO

While director Steve McQueen is enjoying an enormous amount of buzz for his period slavery drama 12 Years a Slave starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt and more, the filmmaker is keeping busy by developing a new project for television.

Actually, it’s not TV, it’s HBO. Deadline reports McQueen is working with World War Z co-writer Matthew Michael Carnahan and hip-hop producer/”Def Jam Comedy” creator Russell Simmons for a new drama series that will be produced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman (The King’s Speech).

Steve McQueen directing

McQueen (who will direct the pilot) and Carnahan co-wrote the script which currently doesn’t have a title, but follows a young African-American man as he moves his way into the upper class high society of New York City. However, this man’s past may not be what it seems. There aren’t anymore details on the story, but the series is described as Six Degrees of Separation meets Shame (the director’s second feature film), so it sounds like it will be raw, and also have a sort of ensemble element as well.

The plan is for McQueen to shoot the pilot before he gets his next film off the ground, so the project is being fast-tracked with casting options already being put together (though no specific names are mentioned). So far McQueen has proven to be a very powerful filmmaker with grounded, visceral stories containing moving performances from his entire cast. HBO seems like the perfect place for him to set up a new show (joining exciting upcoming fare like “True Detective,” which hails from similarly stylistic director Cary Fukunaga), and we’ll keep you posted as this one develops.

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.