To the filmmaker looking to tell adult stories on an appropriately sized canvas without having to cater to a four-quadrant audience or worry about securing a 3D upcharge, television is quickly becoming heaven. 2014 alone will see Cary Fukunaga, Steven Soderbergh and the Coen Brothers embrace the small screen format, and now a filmmaking legend is looking to bring his projects (back) to life on cable.
Chatting with Movies.com, William Friedkin revealed that two of his films—one more recent, another a bit older—are going down the development path. "MGM is trying to develop a television series on 'To Live and Die in L.A.' It won’t be that story at all, but it will be that vibe," the director revealed.
"They’re also trying to do a series on 'Killer Joe.' A Dallas detective who is a hired killer. It will not be the same story, but it will be very edgy, not unlike Fargo," Friedkin added.
So what is compelling Friedkin—who also has a Mae West project starring Bette Midler setup with HBO Films—to ditch trying to make big screen entertainment? Simply put, the landscape has changed to into something that just doesn't match his interests.
"The only thing I’m interested in now is long form, which is what you’d call television," he explained. "...I don’t want to make a feature film, because I don’t want to make a movie about a guy in a mask and a spandex suit flying around and saving the world. I don’t want to see that movie, so why would I make it? And if you do make a serious film today, the chances are it won’t have a bright future in theaters. It could maybe take on an afterlife in home video and cable."
Friedkin notes that he has approvals on 'Live And Die' (and presumably "Killer Joe") but he's not yet decided to direct any episodes. That said, he does really like the "Fargo" model ("It’s fantastic! It’s intelligent. In fact, it assumes the audience is smart and can follow a strange, ambiguous story all about evil figures...The Coen brothers have some connection to it, approval maybe, though I don’t think they did any writing. But it has their vibe and I love it") and it's clear he's excited by the potential. As are we. A "Dexter"-ish show based on the premise of "Killer Joe"? Sign us up.