Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Martin Scorsese didn’t meet the TV press during HBO’s panel on its new Prohibition-based series Boardwalk Empire. Instead, he was presented live via satellite from the London set of his latest film, the 3D children’s movie Hugo Cabret. Scorsese now has two projects with HBO — the gangster epic, and a history of rock ‘n’ roll with Mick Jagger, both with Terence Winter — so he talked about why he’s suddenly interested in the small screen medium at this point in his career. “What’s happening the past 9 to 10 years, particularly at HBO, is what we had hoped for in the mid-Sixties with films being made for television at first. We’d hoped there would be this kind of freedom and also the ability to create another world and create longform characters and story. That didn’t happen in the 1970s, 1980s and in the 1990s I think. And of course …HBO is a trailblazer in this. I’ve been tempted over the years to be involved with them because of the nature of long-form and their development of character and plot.”
Creator Terence Winter, an alum of The Sopranos, told the critics HBO approached him to explore the subject of Prohibition. “They told me, ‘Oh and, by the way, Martin Scorsese is attached if you find a series here.’,” Winter related. “I said, ‘I assure you I’ll find a series here.’” Scorsese, who directed the first episode of the expensive new period drama starring Steve Buscemi, said that he’s interested in directing more episodes if his schedule permits. The director of Goodfellas, Casino, and Gangs of New York said he was lured to the subject by Prohibition’s big crime figures of the time, like Luciano, Capone, and Rothstein. “For me, it was an opportunity to try to chart that world and see how those characters interacted at that time.”