Cinemax has optioned the rights to The Skin Trade, the 1988 offbeat “werewolf noir” novella by George Kalinda VazquezR.R. Martin, for a TV series project, which the Game Of Thrones author will executive produce. Written/executive produced by Kalinda Vazquez (Once Upon A Time), the drama, titled Skin Trade, will center on Willie Flambeaux, a collections agent who happens to be a werewolf, and his friend, Randi Wade, a private investigator, who discover a dark secret behind a series of grisly murders in their decaying industrial city.

Martin and Vazquez executive produce the project, now in development, with Martin’s manager, Vince Gerardis as well as Paul Sansone, Rich Angell, Mark B. Newbauer and Lizandro Cruz.

The_Skin_Trade_by_George_R._R._Martin“I have always thought there was a TV series (or maybe a feature film) in Willie Flambeaux and Randi Wade,” Martin wrote on his blog last night. “Those of you who know the story of Doorways, my ill-fated ABC pilot from the early 90s, may even recall that it was Skin Trade that I was actually trying to sell back in 1991, when I flew out to LA for a round of pitch meetings. So we’re a few decades late…”

Several years ago, Newbauer’s Mike the Pike Prods. acquired the rights to the novel and tried to develop it as a feature.

In his blog post, Martin talks about The Skin Trade‘s “storied, and complex, publishing history.” “It was originally written for Night Vision 5, the fifth volume of the prestigious annual horror anthology from the late lamented small press Dark Harvest, where it appeared together with original contributions from Dan Simmons and Stephen King, some stellar company,” Marin wrote. “The novella was very well received, and went on to win that year’s World Fantasy Award.”

Martin is coming off a best drCinemaxama series Emmy win for GOT, on which he serves as co-executive producer. GOT swept the Emmys, smashing the record for most wins in a single year with 12 trophies. Skin Trade falls under the two-year development deal Martin has with HBO. He previously had disclosed that he was developing a Captain Cosmos series at HBO with Michael Cassutt writing.

Vazquez — named by her parents after the Star Trek character — just wrapped a three-year stint as co-executive producer on ABC’s fairytale drama Once Upon a Time. Before that, she worked on Prison Break, Human Target and Nikita. 

Martin is repped by WME and attorney Christine Cuddy of Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo; Vazquez is with WME.