Pitt lands a lead in Scorsese's HBO pilot


Michael Pitt is in final negotiations to star opposite Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire," Martin Scorsese's drama pilot for HBO.

Written by Terrence Winter and to be directed by Scorsese, "Empire" is based on Nelson Johnson's book, which chronicles the 1920s origins of Atlantic City, N.J.

The story centers on Nucky Johnson (Buscemi), a cunning businessman who runs a liquor distribution ring at the onset of Prohibition, and Jimmy Darmody (Pitt), a young, highly intelligent and ruthless World War I veteran, a low-level flunky for Nucky who wants to quickly climb the ladder.

Kelly Macdonald was previously cast in the pilot.

"Empire" is executive produced by Scorsese, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Winter.

Pitt, who recurred on "Dawson's Creek," has starred in the feature films "The Dreamers," "The Village," "Last Days" and "Funny Games." (partialdiff)