The Vine: HBO sings series 'Blues'
After making the leap from the stage to the small screen as an HBO Films movie, Ruben Santiago-Hudson's autobiographical one-man play "Lackawanna Blues" is ready for another transition. HBO is developing a drama series based on the play and film, sources said. Santiago-Hudson, who also penned the film, is writing the pilot script and is executive producing with his manager Vincent Cirrincione. Both were executive producers on the 2005 film, which explored Santiago-Hudson's experience growing up in the early 1960s in Lackawanna, N.Y., amid a thriving black community in that Great Lakes city under the care of a large, maternal woman everyone calls Nanny (S. Epatha Merkerson). It is not clear whether Halle Berry, who also served as an executive producer on the film, will be involved in the series project. Merkerson has not been approached to reprise her role, which garnered her Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG awards, a difficult prospect given the actress' regular gig on NBC's long-running crime drama "Law & Order." Directed by George C. Wolfe, the 2005 movie featured a large ensemble cast that included Terrence Howard, Mos Def, Macy Gray, Jimmy Smits and Liev Schreiber.