FX, Lee Daniels and 20th Television are taking another stab at adapting Sam Greenlee’s spy novel The Spook Who Sat By The Door as a TV series after a pilot, written by Leigh Dana Jackson and directed by Gerard McMurray, did not go forward at the network.
“We are working on a redeveloping of it,” FX Entertainment President Eric Schrier told Deadline Thursday during an interview tied to the network’s TCA presentation. “Lee Daniels is still involved, and they are working on it. We are reworking on the development side of it, we are not going forward with the current pilot, which Leigh Dana Jackson tweeted about awhile ago.”
The Spook Who Sat By The Door has been a passion project for Daniels who optioned Greenlee’s book in 2018 through his Inclusion Fund. A year later, the project was set up at FX with Jackson as writer and showrunner. It was picked up to pilot in early 2021.
Search is underway for a new writer to pen the new incarnation for Lee Daniels Entertainment and 20th TV where the company is based.
The Spook Who Sat By The Door tells the fictional story of Dan Freeman, a patriot and Vietnam vet, who is recruited as the only Black operative in the CIA as part of an affirmative-action program in the late 1960s. After a very competitive selection process he trains in high-level combat and espionage. However, following this arduous training, this model recruit is rewarded with a post in the reprographics (aka photocopying) department, “left by the door” as a token of the CIA’s “racial equality.”
The FX pilot starred Y’lan Noel, Christina Jackson, Lucas Till, Nafessa Williams, Nathan Darrow and Tom Irwin.
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