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Walter Mosley Talks Deals w/ HBO, NBC, TNT, Adapting "Leonid McGill," "Easy Rawlins," "Fearless Jones"

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 27, 2012 1:31 PM
10 Comments
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It was recently announced that a TV drama series based on Walter Mosley's fictional African American private investigator Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, was in the works for the NBC network.

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,, New York City private investigator series.

That deal was original announced in 2010, and, for some reason, we completely missed it; so I'm not certain how widely-known it is, hence this post.

But it's in the works, starting with the first book in the series titled, The Long Fall.

Fast-forward to today, and THIS NPR interview with Mosley, who's most recent work, All I Did Was Shoot My Man, the 4th in the Leonid McGill series, went on sale earlier this week. He was on the show (Talk Of The Nation) to talk about the new book, and more; and he was asked by a caller about turning the work into a movie.

In response, he mentioned his HBO deal for the Leonid McGill book series, and added that he'd pretty much outlined the entire first season, which would be based on The Long Fall, and that he has a meeting with HBO execs next week, during which I assume he'll be handing over what he's done, and they'll further discuss the ongoing project.

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

I should also note that the TNT network has ordered a pilot episode of Mosley's Fearless Jones series of novels, with plans for an eventual TV series, which he mentions in the interview. 

So, with deals at 3 different networks for 3 different book series, Mosley and fans of his works, should hopefully see one of them go all the way; all 3 would be nice (especially the HBO series), but I'm not greedy :)

You can listen to the full 16-minute interview/call-in session HERE, in which he talks about putting out more science fiction books soon, writing post-black characters, another Easy Rawlins novel coming out in 2013, and more.

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10 Comments

  • Deacon | July 6, 2012 3:02 AMReply

    Now who is playing Fearless?

  • Jug | February 2, 2012 8:25 PMReply

    Guess EASY didn't make the cut at NBC this season... :-(

  • Tamara | January 30, 2012 11:09 AMReply

    This is a good look. Love Mosley's works.

  • Joia | January 28, 2012 3:53 PMReply

    Teaming up Jeffrey Wright with Walter Mosley. Wow! What a brilliant combination. Can't wait to see the finished products. Also, so anxious to see the other genius, Julie Dash, back in the Director's seat. It's about time for all of this wonderful creativity to flow. Can't wait!!

  • Mekisha Hale | January 27, 2012 3:47 PMReply

    It's good to hear that there are major networks wanting this detective series specially shows interest in the work of author Walter Mosley's work. For the network NBC it would be something completely different with some of the Law & Order shows that once ruled the network. Now with only just the only show on air. And just the history of the network with detective shows in the past it would make sense to be interested in such an rich characters and the stories of Private Investigator Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins. Or the other stories that Walter Mosley have made famous. There are a lot of stories there that could be something for viewer who are interested in the works of author Walter Mosley. But then there's the cable network HBO and Showtime. Then another deal that would be great for another network TNT. I guess what others are worried and probably the writer is the content and how much control maybe in how characters are going to be written for the show. How are the characters from the book are going to be authentic of the stories creatively. How much of the stories will have the real feeling and substance that the movie "Devil in a Blue Dress" had. These are concerns with anyone who might not want to just rush every story to the screen specially to network. In the likes of NBC or TNT. Would it fair better if these Private detective stories like Easy Rawlins character for example was a major motion picture then translating that image and characters words to the big screen and now to television is something to think about. But cable network or network television. That's the question. For sake of Art it's,television doesn't have enough of the variety of stories are ethnic diversity of all being shown as stories that others may find interesting. And this is a start,but the creative control is the issue and how much. But it's good to hear there is interest in the projects. Only high hopes for Walter Mosley finally there is a interest in his work.

  • Jug | January 27, 2012 6:59 PM

    George I couldn't agree more man! I do hope TNT gets it together tho, because they have some good projects in dev, FEARLESS JONES aside, and I'd hope creatively they don't end up being "all about ratings"...tho CBS is laughing all the way to the bank LOL

  • George | January 27, 2012 5:44 PM

    I'm Hoping that the project at HBO is the one that get's picked up. HBO has a history of giving it's showrunner a whole lot more creative control.

    TNT is starting to look like CBS and more likely want the show to be a procedural.

    NBC is so naive right now they are unwilling to take more creative risk. Even though the average standard is still continuing the loss of their core audience.

    Right now currently the standard for Book to Tv adaptations for me are FX Justified AND HBO Game Of Thrones.

  • adiaha | January 27, 2012 2:37 PMReply

    WOW! That is great news. I am so happy for him and in the face of so much hoopla about how Hollywood hasn't/won't back all black casts I am estatic. I can't wait to see the end product of which ever project(s) actually make it to the mini-screen.

  • George Otwori | January 27, 2012 3:52 PM

    More Likely ADIAHA if any of these make it to series. The Network will want the cast to be diverse. So a couple of token white characters will be added but unlike non-white tokens on most TV show these days. These white tokens will actually be getting relevant material.

  • Jug | January 27, 2012 2:21 PMReply

    R U KIDDING ME?!? I am ALL over this. I LOVE Mosley's characters and Two of the Three are right up my alley. Especially if TNT has ordered Fearless Jones, they could match that up with L.A. NOIR, their version of THE GANGSTER SQUAD & Mickey Cohen saga. Yeah, I'm hittin' up my people TODAY! LOL Thanks for the heads up Tambay!

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