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Walter Mosley Forms Production Company; Adapting "Man In My Basement" For Anthony Mackie To Star + Deal w/ Don Cheadle

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 4, 2012 at 9:16AM

Walter Mosley is on a roll apparently; his name's been in the news quite a bit in the last few months - mostly TV deals for a number of his novels.
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Walter Mosley
Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley is on a roll apparently; his name's been in the news quite a bit in the last few months - mostly TV deals for a number of his novels.

And now this...

Mosley has teamed up with TV series and documentary producer Diane Houslin to launch a new production company, B.O.B. Filmhouse (Best of Brooklyn Filmhouse), with the goal being to play an "active role" in the adaptation of his novels into films and TV series.

The pair have a history together - specifically, they met while Houslin worked at HBO, when the network adapted Mosley's novel Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, starring Laurence Fishburne.

B.O.B. Filmhouse already has several projects already in development, which we've announced on S&A like...

A series for NBC centered on Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins; that news was met with simultaneous joy and disappointment; while most were glad that Mosley's series of books would be getting the screen treatment, some were concerned that, as an NBC product, it wouldn't pack the same punch as if it were instead headed to a cable network like HBO or Showtime; and I agreed with that.

But maybe knowing that Mosley also has a deal in place with HBO, but not for the Rawlins series of books; instead, Mosley's Leonid McGill, the New York City private investigator, starting with the first book in the series titled, The Long Fall.

Mosley has said in January that he's pretty much outlined the entire first season, which would be based on The Long Fall, and that he was to meet with HBO execs next week, during which I assumed he'd be handing over what he'd done, and they'll further discuss the ongoing project.

And when asked in an NPR interview who his choice is for the starring role in the Leonid McGill series, guess who he named? Jeffrey Wright of course!

Lastly, the TNT network has ordered a pilot episode of Mosley's Fearless Jones series of novels, with plans for an eventual TV series; no word yet on a delivery date. 

What we haven't already announced, and what's new to me are the following:

First according to the press release, B.O.B. Filmhouse is also in "active talks" to develop a project with Don Cheadle’s Crescendo Productions! Nice, right? It doesn't say what that project is, but I'm already excited!

And secondly, B.O.B. Filmhouse, in association with Carol Polakoff Productions (CPPI), are developing a feature film based on Mosley’s psychological thriller Man In My Basement, with Anthony Mackie in talks to star (cool), Mosley co-writing the screenplay with Cheo Hodari Coker (nice - if you watch Southland, you should be a fan). Mosley will serve as Executive Producer, with Diane Houslin and Carol Polakoff producing. Polakoff is also producing On Beauty, the Kasi Lemmons adaptation of Zadie Smith's novel of the same name.

They are currently searching for a director to helm the project.

And for those unfamiliar with the acclaimed novel, Man In My Basement, here's a synop:

Charles Blakey is a young black man whose life is slowly crumbling. His parents are dead, he can't find a job, he drinks too much, and his friends have begun to desert him. Worst of all, he's fallen behind on the mortgage payments for the beautiful home that's belonged to his family for generations. When a stranger offers him $50,000 in cash to rent out his basement for the summer, Charles needs the money too badly to say no. He knows that the stranger must want something more than a basement view. Sure enough, he has a very particular-and bizarre-set of requirements, and Charles tries to satisfy him without getting lured into the strangeness. But he sees an opportunity to understand secrets of the white world, and his summer with a man in his basement turns into a journey into inconceivable worlds of power and manipulation, and unimagined realms of humanity. 

So who should direct this? With my recent post wondering about Carl Franklin's seeming lack of opportunities to direct over the last 20 years, maybe this could be a project for him to tackle. Or maybe they give it to an upstart with demonstrated ability, especially with this kind of material, like a Seith Mann. Who else would be on your short list?

Said Mosley about the formation of B.O.B. Filmhouse, “In Diane Houslin I’ve found the perfect partne... Her experience is invaluable and offers a good balance to what I can bring to the conversation. This is a time of such great change in the business—from how we tell stories to where our readers and audiences find them—that I am excited to be a part of the whole process.

So, with deals at 3 different networks for 3 different book series, plus the formation of his own production company, a potential deal with Don Cheadle, and an adaptation of Man In My Basement with Anthony Mackie starring, fans of Mosley's works should be really excited about what's to come; at least, we hope to see one of these deals go all the way. All of them would be nice, but I'm not greedy :)

Also worth noting is just how much work for black actors all of these projects would create.


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