EXCLUSIVE: The Raid director Gareth Evans is heading to the small screen with his latest project – a big-budget gangland drama for HBO’s Cinemax and Sky Atlantic. I hear that Evans has set up Gangs of London (working title) with Pulse Films, marking the company’s first move into TV drama, and Jane Featherstone’s Sister Pictures, which is behind the forthcoming HBO/Sky co-production Chernobyl.
The drama, which will launch in 2019, is set in contemporary London as it is being torn apart by power struggles involving several international gangs. The series begins as the head of one criminal gang is assassinated and the power vacuum threatens the fragile peace between the other underworld organizations.
It comes from an original idea by Evans, who is also working on period feature Apostle with Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens, and Matt Flannery, who has worked alongside Evans as cinematographer on a number of his films. It is unrelated to the eponymous PlayStation Portable video game, which coincidentally Pulse Films previously optioned the rights to in order to make a movie directed by Kidulthood’s Menhaj Huda.
Pulse Films is the lead producer on the project after Evans approached the Vice-owned company. Pulse is better known for producing feature films such as American Honey and Nick Cave’s 2000 Days On Earth as well as rock documentaries such as Blur: No Distance Left to Run and LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up and Play the Hits.
Featherstone, founder of Elisabeth Murdoch-backed Sister Pictures, which is currently producing series including Netflix and BBC1 drama Giri/Haji and Hulu and Channel 4 comedy The Bisexual, is co-producing.
Peter Berry, Clare Wilson and Joe Murtagh will write alongside Flannery and Evans, who will also direct. Pulse Films’ Thomas Benski and Lucas Ochoa will executive produce, alongside Featherstone and Sky’s Anna Ferguson. The multi-part drama was commissioned by Sky’s Head of Drama Anne Mensah and Kary Antholis, President of Miniseries at HBO and President of Programming at Cinemax.
Endeavor Content and WME handled U.S. sales.
Evans said he hoped the show would bring a “cinematic viewing experience” into U.S. and UK homes.
“It has been a thrilling experience to leap into longform storytelling, exploring a multicultural world of global crime as it intersects on the streets of London,” he added.
Mensah called Gangs of London an “unrivalled spectacle with characters to match”, while Antholis said it was a “fun, adrenalized and entertaining series that will be catnip for audiences”.
Pulse Films Founder and Chief Executive Thomas Benski said that the drama was the “ideal calling card” for the launch of its scripted TV slate.