Martin Scorsese/HBO To Explore 1970s New York City Music Scene, When Rock, Disco & Hip-Hop Collided

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by Tambay A. Obenson
November 16, 2011 11:20 AM
2 Comments
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Initially announced back in October, though we missed it, Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger are teaming up to produce a yet-untitled 1970s rock 'n' roll drama series for HBO.

Terence Winter (

Boardwalk Empire) has penned a script that THR says HBO is "very hot on," which Jagger originally conceived as a feature film project, not a cable TV series.

This morning, we have an official synopsis of the upcoming new series (though it's not terribly different from what was revealed previously); and I can also tell you that there are a few roles (series regulars, recurring and guest starring) in it for black actors. When you read the storyline, you'll understand partly why that is.

First, the official synopsis, which follows:

It's circa 1977 in an economically ravaged New York City. Richie Finestra is the cocaine-fueled head of A&R at American Century Music. A time when the disco music of Studio 54 competed with the punk rock of CBGB's and a new form of music called "hip hop" was on the horizon.

Regarding casting of black actors... what I know currently is that they're looking for an actor to play a young (19 year old) GrandMaster Flash, though that won't be a series regular role. 

Of the series regulars, a search is underway for a character named "Lester" (aka "Little Jimmy Little"), a mid-40s black man, and former singer, who is now a limo driver - I'm guessing Richie Finestra's. 

Of the recurring parts, there's a character named "Top Cat," 30-year-old black man who dresses in "pimp regalia" and works the door at a club in the South Bronx; and finally "Cece" - the 22-year-old "gorgeous assistant" to Richie Finestra, described as "smart and no-nonsense."

Other than the 4 I just mentioned, there isn't a lot else of significance for black actors; although that could certainly change, because this is just in preparation for the pilot episode. If reactions to the pilot are strong, and HBO orders a full season of the series, there could be more black faces added over time - especially given the contents of synopsis: Late 70s, New York City, disco Rock & Roll, hip-hop...! Need I say more... this baby should feature a sea of browness.

Though ya never know; Hollywood's historical revisionist ways certainly isn't anything new.

I'll be paying attention to this as it develops.

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2 Comments

  • urbanteur | November 16, 2011 7:05 PMReply

    How `bout a late 60's to early 80's DAYTON,OHIO mini-series-Music scene featuring - the OhioPlayers/Slave/Lakeside/Bootsy'sRubber band/Dazz Band(cleveland)/Faze-O/Magfinicent 7/the Deele(babyface&l.a.reid'sband)/Zap!-featuring Roger Troutman with Shirley Murdock/Heatwave(by way of england) and the incurable-Dave Chappelle...huum,this got me thinking:)?

  • Idol-Maker | November 16, 2011 11:53 AMReply

    Would love to see this! A dramatization of old-school hip-hop, the CBGB scene, and 54, especially with Scorcese at the helm (not to mention Jagger's firsthand knowledge of the scene). There's so much they can cover in regards to 70's NY, plus it works infinitely better as a series than a feature. Was hoping that the planned Run-DMC bio-pic would delve into some of this (with Ronin Ro's excellent "Raising Hell" as source material), but I fear it'll be cheaply made & sanitized (if it ever gets made). Maybe they're waiting for Diggy to get some facial hair...

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