EXCLUSIVE: Vermilion Entertainment is teaming with Rubicon Entertainment to develop and produce a TV series based on The French Quarter: An Informal History of the New Orleans Underworld, a book in author-journalist Herbert Asbury’s early 20th century crime series that included Gangs of New York and The Barbary Coast.

french-quarter
Basic Books

Vermillion and Rubicon will serve as executive producers on French Quarter, and they are beginning discussions with potential directors, writers and cast.

“Being from New Orleans, we were naturally drawn to the material that showcases an incredible time in history spanning pirates and riverboat gambling to voodoo and politics,” said Vermilion president Todd Thompson. “We are excited to further our great relationship with Rubicon.”

Added Rubicon’s Nathan Grubbs: “The French Quarter has been a passion project of mine for many years, and I am extremely proud to have found the perfect partners in fellow New Orleanians the Thompsons and Vermilion to bring to light the incredibly unique story that is the birth of New Orleans.”

Asbury’s Gangs of New York was major source material for Martin Scorsese’s 2002 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel-Day Lewis. Meanwhile, the Mark Gordon Company is putting together big TV series based on The Barbary Coast, the writer’s early history of San Francisco. That one is being directed and co-written by Mel Gibson, with Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson set to star.

Vermilion, the recently formed TV production company from the founders of Cross Creek Pictures, already has its first scripted project in the works, teaming with Universal Cable Productions and 1492 Pictures/Ocean Blue on an anthology series based on Alfred Hitchcock’s classic tales.

Rubicon and its partners Grubbs, Doug McKay, Robert Kaplan, Marc Senter and Michael Whalen are producing an adaptation of Stephen King’s short story Drunken Fireworks with James Franco and Vince Jolivette’s Rabbit Bandini Productions with Franco set to star and possibly direct.