Joe Caniano, Andrew “Dice” Clay, Ato Essandoh, Robert Funaro, James Jagger, Birgitte Sorenson, and J.C. Mackenzie have been added to the cast of HBO’s Untitled Rock ‘n’ Roll project. The pilot is in production in New York, with Martin Scorsese directing.
The untitled drama is set in 1970s New York and explores the drug- and sex-fueled music business as punk and disco were breaking out, all through the eyes of record executive Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale), who is trying to resurrect his label and find the next new sound. Ray Romano will play Richie’s close confidant and right-hand man Zak Yankovich, the tough and sharp-witted head of promotions at American Century, with years of experience dating back to the shady, mob-infested days of the recording industry.
The drama pilot’s executive producers are Scorsese, Mick Jagger, Terence Winter, George Mastras, Victoria Pearman, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, and Rick Yorn.
Newly added to the cast, Caniano is Leo, Richie’s longtime chauffeur and confidant; Clay is cast as Frank “Buck” Rogers, the obnoxious, cocaine-fueled owner of a chain of radio stations; Essandoh portrays Lester Grimes, a former singer and ex-colleague of Finestra; Funaro is Tony Del Greco, chief enforcer for a New York mob boss; the younger Jagger is Kip Stevens, lead singer of Nasty Bits, a early punk rock band. Sorenson plays Ingrid, a Danish actress favored by Andy Warhol and close friend of Finestra’s wife, Devon; Mackenzie plays Skip Fontaine, head of sales for American Century Records. Deadline reported Monday that PJ Byrne also had been added to the cast; he will play Scott Leavitt, the head of legal for American Century Records.)
In addition to Cannavale and Romano, the cast also includes Olivia Wilde plays his wife, Devon Finestra — a former actress/model who lived a Bohemian life in 1960s New York. Juno Temple is Jamie Vine, is an ambitious assistant in the A&R Department of the label. Max Casella is Julian “Julie” Silver, the head of A&R of American Century; Jack Quaid is Clark Morelle, a young A&R executive at the label.
Back in summer 2010, Deadline first reported about this sweeping period drama from Boardwalk Empire duo of Scorsese and Winter — with rock legend Jagger as a partner. The project back then was referred to as History Of Music, a rock ‘n’ roll epic following two friends through 40 years in the music business, from the early days of R&B to contemporary hip-hop. It originated as a feature based on Jagger’s idea, first at Disney and then at Paramount, where it was set up three years before that — with Scorsese attached to direct the pilot, and Jagger, his Jagged Films partner Pearman, and Scorsese producing. Scorsese had directed Jagger and his Rolling Stones band mates in the 2008 feature documentary Shine A Light, which Pearman produced.