EXCLUSIVE: Starz has put in development a drama series based on the 2011 novel The Madonnas Of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse, from award-winning playwright Julia Cho, feature writer Kelly Marcel (Venom), producer Aaron Kaplan (The Chi, The Neighborhood, A Million Little Things) and his Kapital Entertainment.
The project was bought by the Lionsgate-owned premium network with a significant penalty, part of its focus on content for diverse female audiences. It will be produced by Kapital and Lionsgate Television.
Written by Cho, The Madonnas Of Echo Park is a multigenerational drama set in Los Angeles that takes us across borders and into decades past as it follows one young woman’s search for her undocumented father.
“I wrote Madonnas of Echo Park to try and make visible the hopes and ambitions of those who often aren’t seen or heard, the ‘invisible hands; whose labor make the dream of Los Angeles possible,” Skyhorse said. “I’m humbled that two extraordinary artists, Kelly Marcel and Julia Cho, saw something special in the book. I’m grateful to Starz for giving Madonnas a home.”
Cho, Marcel, Skyhorse and Kapital’s Kaplan and Dana Honor executive produce. The project, with the same creative team, was originally set up at HBO in 2012. It reunites Kaplan and Marcel whose first collaboration, Fox drama series Terra Nova, marked Marcel’s first produced script and Kaplan’s first series as a producer.
Marcel went on to a feature career with Saving Mr. Banks, Fifty Shades of Grey, the Venom franchise, Cruiella and Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis Presley movie.
At Starz, Kapital has a pilot order for Shining Vale, a horror comedy from Sharon Horgan and Jeff Astrof, which stars Courteney Cox. Like many other pilots, its production has been suspended due to the coronavirus crisis, and the project is writing a second script during the shutdown.
Earlier this week, Kapital’s Women of the Movement (working title) opened a virtual writers room. The ABC anthology series chronicles the civil rights movement as told by the women behind it.
Cho was recently awarded the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize. Her TV series credits include Big Love, Fringe and Halt and Catch Fire. She is repped by attorney Tara Kole. The TV rights deal for the book was made on behalf of Writers House by Hotchkiss Daily & Associates.