EXCLUSIVE: David Kushner’s bestselling book Levittown: Two Families, One Tycoon, and the Fight for Civil Rights in America’s Legendary Suburb is in the works for the small screen. Independent studio wiip has optioned the rights to the book and partnered with The Gotham Group to develop as a limited series. BAFTA-winning screenwriter and director Amma Asante is attached to pen the series adaptation and direct the pilot. Emmy winner Thomas Schlamme is on board to produce.
Per the description: The book chronicles the true account of the explosive events that transpired when the first African American family moved into the iconic whites-only suburb of Levittown, PA. While the harrowing conflict that unfolded would transform an entire nation, at its heart, Levittown is really the story about three families: The Levitts, second generation immigrants turned real estate titans with an empire fueled by scrappy ingenuity and sibling rivalries; the Wechslers, Jewish social activists and Levittown residents dogged by their Communist pasts, and the Myers family, an unassuming school teacher and her WWII-veteran husband whose simple wish to find a larger home to raise two children with another one on the way would give rise to a powerful national movement and earn Daisy Myers the moniker, “the Rosa Parks of the North.”
Asante also would serve as showrunner and executive producer. Schlamme, Kushner and Julie DeJoie executive produce along with Eric Robinson, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Jeremy Bell and D.J. Goldberg for The Gotham Group and wiip’s Paul Lee and Hope Hartman.
Known for her films Belle and A Way of Life, the latter of which earned her FIPRESCI prizes and the Carl Foreman BAFTA Film Award, Asante’s most recent television directing credits include Mrs. America and The Handmaid’s Tale. In 2017, the UK filmmaker was awarded an MBE on the Queen’s New Year’s Honour’s List, for her contributions to film as a writer and director.
Schlamme most recently directed the limited series The Plot Against America for HBO and A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote for HBO Max, the latter of which earned him the DGA Award. Through his Shoe Money Productions, he’s executive produced series such as Manhattan, Pan Am and currently Snowfall for FX, created by the late John Singleton. He has won nine Emmy Awards, four Directors Guild of America Awards and two Peabody Awards. Since 2017, he’s served as the president of the Directors Guild of America.
Kushner is repped by The Gotham Group and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof + Fishman. Asante is repped by CAA, Mosaic, United Agents and Barry Littman at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller. Schlamme is repped by CAA and Stan Coleman at Weintraub Tobin.