In a very competitive situation with five TV studios pursuing, Amy Pascal and Sony Pictures Television have landed the rights to Darktown, an upcoming crime novel by The Last Town on Earth author Thomas Mullen.
Pascal has teamed with Jamie Foxx to executive produce the project, with Pascal Pictures’ Rachel O’Connor producing.
Set in Atlanta in 1948, the story centers on the city’s first black police officers — whose hire in the department as a result from pressure on high is met with vitriol from their white counterparts and distrust within their own African American community. In a culture and time when blacks were still relegated to the back of the bus, the officers are treated as second class. They can only patrol in black neighborhoods, are not allowed to arrest white suspects, cannot drive squad cars and cannot use the police headquarters, forced to operate out of the basement of a gym. The book chronicles the case of a black woman who turns up fatally beaten after last seen in a car driven by a white man, which deepens the divide in the police department.
The book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster describes the novel as intricately plotted crime saga that explores the timely issues of race, law enforcement, and the uneven scales of justice and depicts a world on the cusp of great change involving race relations, city politics, and police corruption.
Darktown, which will be looking for a writer, falls under year-old Pascal Pictures’ first-look deal with Sony TV. Former Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman-turned-producer Pascal recently teamed with fellow former Sony feature exec Elizabeth Cantillon for another period drama series project based on books — Eve Babitz’s memoirs — through Sony TV’s TriStar Television.
The rights to Darktown, which will be published in September, were repped by ICM Partners on behalf of Susan Golomb at Writers House. Foxx is repped by CAA and LBI.