HBO's gonna be in pictures


It's a "Sopranos" reunion, Hollywood-style. "The Sopranos" creator/ exec producer David Chase and series exec producer Brad Grey are back at HBO with a sprawling miniseries about the evolution of the Hollywood film industry during the past century.

Chase is developing the mini, titled "A Ribbon of Dreams," after Orson Welles' quote, "A film is a ribbon of dreams." He is writing the project and will executive produce with Grey, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures.

Chase Films and Paramount Pictures will co-produce with HBO.

"It gives me pleasure to think of working, together with Brad, with HBO again," Chase said. "These are all people who, obviously, occupy a special place in my heart."

The mini starts in 1913 and will follow two men — a college-educated mechanical engineer and a cowboy with a violent past — who form an unlikely producing partnership. The duo begins as employees of D.W. Griffith, then cross career paths with such Hollywood greats as John Ford, John Wayne, Raoul Walsh, Bette Davis and Billy Wilder.

Through the eyes of the two main characters, as well as their children and successors, the mini will chronicle the growth of the film industry from the age of rough-hewn silent Westerns to the golden era of talkies and the studio system to the auteur movement to television and finally to the present.

"The epic scope of this miniseries will provide the perfect setting for David Chase's remarkable creative gifts," said HBO's West Coast president Michael Lombardo, who announced the project with HBO co-president Richard Plepler.

In addition to writing and exec producing, Chase will direct the first episodes of the mini, whose length has not been determined but, given its scope, is expected to be in ballpark of HBO's seven-part "John Adams" and "Generation Kill" or its 10-part "Band of Brothers" and upcoming "The Pacific."

"David is a master storyteller who has once again chosen a fascinating subject," Grey said. "I am excited for this project as an executive producer, a friend and a huge fan of David's."

Chase, who has won seven Emmys — five of them for "The Sopranos" — also is writing a feature for Paramount. He is repped by UTA and attorney Michael Gendler.

HBO and Chase are not the only ones revisiting Hollywood's history.

On the same day HBO announced "Ribbon," Turner Classic Movies said it has commissioned "Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood," a 10-part documentary miniseries about the history of the film industry spanning more than 100 years. (partialdiff)