Last year, director William Friedkin said that he didn’t “want to make a feature film, because I don’t want to make a movie about a guy in a mask and a spandex suit flying around,” adding that longform television is the only medium he’s interested in at the moment. In keeping with that statement, now Deadline is reporting that WGN America has bought Friedkin’s TV adaptation of his film To Live And Die In L.A., which “has a script-to-series commitment and is expected to go to series upon script approval.”
Friedkin, who wrote and directed the original film, will be directing the series pilot as well as executive producing; The French Connection director developed the project along with Crash screenwriter Bobby Moresco. (Let’s hope that this new series has more in common with Friedkin’s Killer Joe—also being developed as a series—than Moresco’s overwrought morality play.) Deadline says, “The series is described as an intense immersion into the inner workings of the Secret Service and a cat-and-mouse chase through the dark underbelly of the City of Angels.”
The 1985 original featured William Petersen—currently starring in WGN America’s Manhattan—as a U.S. Secret Service agent focused on bringing down a dangerous counterfeiter on the neon-soaked streets of Los Angeles. Petersen’s intensity will be hard to match: Hugh Dancy attempted to various degrees as Will Graham on the television series Hannibal (Petersen portrayed the character in 1986’s Manhunter), and Willem Dafoe was perfectly sleazy as the big bad in the original film. At press time, Wang Chung, which scored the original film, has not been contacted to return, but is presumably nervously waiting by the phone.