EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Television is developing a true-crime drama series about the relationship between novelist Norman Mailer and killer Jack Henry Abbott, with Boyd Holbrook set to star.
Narcos star Holbrook will play convicted murderer Abbott in Executioner, which comes from Warrior writer Anthony Tambakis and Minamata filmmaker Andew Levitas.
Set in 1981, the series follows one of the most scandalous events in New York City history, when Mailer helped get Abbott paroled from prison, leading to Abbott killing again, a nationwide manhunt, and the trial of the century in New York.
Abbott, who was serving time in prison for forgery when he stabbed another inmate to death, wrote to Mailer, who was writing about convicted killer Gary Gilmore, alleging that Gilmore was embellishing his experiences in prison. Mailer helped Abbott write In the Belly of the Beast, about life in the prison system. The Executioner’s Song author subsequently endorsed Abbott’s attempts to gain parole. He was released in June 1981 and the next month, he killed a waiter in a restaurant in New York.
Executioner was created and written by Tambakis, a short story writer and novelist who is currently working on World War II escape film Victory for Warner Bros and just finished a biopic of Texas guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Levitas will direct. It comes after his latest film Minamata, which he wrote and directed, starred Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy and Hiroyuki Sanada. It told the story of photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, who travels to the Japanese coastal town of Minamata to expose corporate negligence and government cover-ups by documenting one of the worldʼs most devastating environmental disasters.
Holbrook is best known for starring in the first two seasons of Netflix’s Narcos and is currently shooting a lead role in the new Indiana Jones movie. He recently starred in Netflix’s In the Shadow of the Moon opposite Michael C. Hall and FX’s The Premise. He was previously in David Fincher’s Gone Girl, HBO’s Behind the Candelabra, History’s Hatfields & McCoys and Showtime’s The Big C.
Holbrook, Levitas and Tambakis will executive produce.
Holbrook is represented by CAA and Range Media Partners, Tambakis is repped by Range Media Partners.