9:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Ben Affleck, Matt Damon Boston Crime Drama Nabs Showtime Pilot Pickup
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are turning their attention to television again.
The Pearl Street Films production company partners have landed a pilot order at Showtime for gun violence drama City on a Hill.
Based on an original idea from Affleck, City on a Hill is a fictional account of the "Boston Miracle," a police operation that helped calm the streets. In the early 1990s, Boston was rife with violent criminals emboldened by local law enforcement agencies in which corruption and racism was the norm — and then it all suddenly changes. At the center is an African-American district attorney who comes in from Brooklyn advocating change. He forms an unlikely alliance with a corrupt yet venerated FBI veteran who is invested in maintaining the status quo. Together they take on a family of armored car robbers from Charlestown in a case that grows to encompass and eventually upend Boston's citywide criminal justice system.
Chuck MacLean (Boston Strangler) will pen the script for Showtime and Pearl Street Films. Affleck, Damon and Pearl Street's Jennifer Todd will also executive produce alongside James Mangold (Logan, Walk the Line). Gavin O'Connor will direct the pilot and reunite with Affleck and Pearl Street, following The Accountant.
"City on a Hill is a gritty thriller about severe corruption and gangs, the type of series that takes you back and centers around the crime-riddled streets of Boston in the early '90s," Todd said Thursday in a statement. "We are excited to be a part of this project with Showtime and to partner with Gavin again."
Said O'Connor: "Chuck wrote a pressure cooker of a script steeped in the tribal codes of a Shakespeare play — family, blood, betrayal, honor. His take on the ties that bind is handled with a deep honesty and insight. I see the show as a brawling thriller — and an intimate family drama — played out on the rough streets of Boston."
For Pearl Street, City on a Hill marks the company's second scripted TV foray following Syfy's short-lived drama Incorporated, which was canceled after one season. On the film side, the company's credits include Manchester by the Sea, Live by Night and Jason Bourne.
This is Showtime's first pilot order of its new development cycle. The premium cable network's most recent crop yielded series pickups White Famous, The Chi and SMILF. Should it go to series, it would join a drama roster that includes Twin Peaks, The Affair, Billions, Homeland, Ray Donovan and I'm Dying Up Here, among others.
Affleck, Damon, O'Connor, MacLean and Mangold are all with WME. Pearl Street developed the project with IMG.