Starz Developing Fracking Drama 'Black Gold' (Exclusive)

James Ponsoldt - H 2014
AP Images/Invision

James Ponsoldt - H 2014

'Black Gold' is a modern-day Western set in a Dakotas boomtown that revolves around oil drilling and fracking

Starz is drilling for oil with a new crime drama.

The premium cable network is developing a fracking-themed project called Black Gold, created by author Benjamin Percy. The project, produced by FremantleMedia North America, is described as a modern-day Western set in a Dakotas boomtown that revolves around oil drilling and fracking (hydraulic fracturing). Spectacular Now director James Ponsoldt will helm the pilot. 

The controversial practice of fracking has been the subject of several films in the past year, including the Oscar-nominated doc Gasland and the Matt Damon-starring drama The Promised Land.

Ponsoldt's recent films include features Spectacular Now starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, and Smashed starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul. He's wrapped his next film, The End of the Tour, a biopic about author David Foster Wallace starring Jason Segel. Ponsoldt has also directed episodes of such TV series as Parenthood and Shameless. He is repped by UTA, Brillstein Entertainment and attorneys Alan D. Sacks and Andrew Hurwitz.

Percy is the author of two novels, Red Moon and The Wilding, as well as two books of short stories, Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk. He's currently adapting Red Moon as a series with Akiva Goldsman for Fox TV, as well as working on the script for the adaptation of The Wilding for filmmaker Tanya Wexler. His next novel — The Dead Lands, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark passage — will be published by Grand Central/Hachette in April 2015. He's repped by Circle of Confusion.

For Starz, Black Gold could join a drama lineup that includes DaVinci's Demons, Outlander, Power and Black Sails, among others.