'Departed's' William Monahan Developing 'Crime' Drama for Starz (Exclusive)

William Monahan Headshot - P 2013
Courtesy of ID

William Monahan Headshot - P 2013

William Monahan is going back into the underworld.

The Academy Award-winning screenwriter behind The Departed is developing a period crime drama at Starz, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.

Monahan will pen the script for Crime, which is described as a study of criminal enterprises and scandal across 1960s Britain. The project, which has received a script commitment from the pay cabler, was originally developed as a feature film treatment by Vanessa Sadler.

“There’s very little more interesting to me than the '60s in Britain,” Monahan tells THR. “Taken from Profumo to psychedelia, from the London criminal world to the worlds of art and fashion -- all of which continually intersected. I know one thing: it’s very, very, funny.”

Atlas Entertainment will also make its first venture into television with the project, with the company's Charles Roven and William Green executive producing alongside Monahan and Andy Horwitz co-executive produding. Justine Suzanne Jones, president of development at Monahan's production company Henceforth Pictures, will co-exec produce. Josh Varney, Monahan's agent at Independent Talent, was instrumental in arranging the deal.

Starz and Sonar Entertainment will finance development, with Sonar securing the option to distribute the project worldwide. Starz will maintain pay television and home entertainment rights in the U.S.

"We are excited to be working with William Monahan on one of his passion projects,” Starz Entertainment managing director Carmi Zlotnik says in a statement. “Crime is the kind of unique storytelling that elevates scripted television for audiences."

Adds Roven: "We’re thrilled that our first foray in television has us working with the incredibly talented William Monahan on this unique show, and we’re excited to be sharing it with audiences not only in the U.S. but around the world.”

For Starz, the project comes as the pay cable network continues to ramp up its development slate as it is set to lose its portfolio of Disney films in 2016. Starz is scheduled to launch at least four scripted series in 2013, including the final season of Spartacus, season two of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Magic City, freshman period drama Da Vinci's Demons and new limited series The White Queen with Janet McTeer

Starz is also developing the sci-fi action thriller Incursion from SpartacusSteven S. DeKnight, about a group of soldiers caught in a war against a hostile alien race; a potential Spartacus spinoff; and Turf, a drama about the birth of hip-hop from Patrick Macmanus, among others.  

Monahan, whose credits also include penning the screenplay for Martin Scorsese's upcoming The Gambler and Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, is repped by WME, Independent Talent Group and Myman Greenspan.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit