Gary Krist’s bestselling book Empire Of Sin is headed to the small screen. The historical account of the city of New Orleans during the era of its Storyville red-light district has been optioned by Mission Control Entertainment as source material for Storyville, a fictional drama series written by Rome co-creator William J. ”Bill” Macdonald and writer-director Walt Becker (Wild Hogs).
The company is in discussions with a network but might go the indie route as it has secured private-equity financing and is proceeding with filming the pilot. Scouting has begun in Louisiana for a mid-2016 start date.
Described as being in the vein of HBO’s Rome and Boardwalk Empire, Storyville is set against the backdrop of the birth of jazz music, which originated in New Orleans as a way to lure clients into high-end bordellos. It delves into the turbulent, colorful world of the city’s notorious red-light district at the turn of the century.
Macdonald and Becker executive produce. Marcus Morton, president of Mission Control Entertainment, and Bill Borden (High School Musical features) are producing, and Krist is a consultant.
The project is targeted for cable and digital platforms because of the nature of the events it portrays. “It was a sexually charged, violent era,” Morton said. “Walt Becker and Bill Macdonald have written an incredible pilot, and as a Louisiana native, the fact that the entire series will be shot in New Orleans and the state is very exciting.”
Storyville expands Mission Control Entertainment’s relationship with Macdonald as they are also working together on feature sci-fi thriller ArchAlien, created by Macdonald, Ralph Hemecker and Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee. Hemecker will direct from a script he co-wrote with Macdonald.
Macdonald is repped by Innovative and Rowan & Maron. Becker is repped by Paradigm and Luber/Roklin. Mission Control is repped by Lawrence Waks. Krist is repped by WME.