TNT orders up L.A. Noir pilot from Walking Dead’s Frank Darabont

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Former “The Walking Dead” executive producer Frank Darabont‘s connections to Atlanta didn’t end with his unceremonious Season Two ouster as boss on the Atlanta-shot hit zombie drama last year.  “The Shawshank Redemption” director has now struck a deal with Atlanta’s TNT to co-produce a pilot of “L.A. Noir” for the basic cable drama network. According to TNT reps, the show will be set in Los Angeles in the 1940s and 1950s and track “the epic battle L.A. police chief William Parker and mobster Mickey Cohen.” The show will be a fictionalized account of author John Buntin‘s critically acclaimed non-fiction account of the era, “L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City.”

“The story of L.A. Noir is inspired by an incredibly dramatic period in the history of Los Angeles,” says Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies via an emailed release to us. “This project is a sweeping tale of the battle for the soul of the city that was waged between the forces of the LAPD and the West Coast mob. We’re thrilled to be working with Frank Darabont and Michael De Luca (“The Social Network,” “Money Ball), two award-winning storytellers behind some of the most entertaining films of the past two decades, as they to bring this intense and exciting crime-drama to TNT.” 

Adds Darabont: “Noir is a passion of mine, so I feel blessed to delve into a project that speaks in the hardboiled vernacular. John Buntin’s superb book, though non-fiction, is our touchstone and inspiration for the stories we’ll be telling, weaving fiction throughout the facts and facts throughout the fiction. The book provides elements that are irresistible, a big canvas with endless possibilities. The goal is to deliver on the tone that the title ‘L.A. Noir’ promises: a smart, gritty, authentic, period noir drama. Also a blessing is the warm welcome we’ve gotten from Michael Wright and TNT, a great bunch of folks with huge enthusiasm for the source material.”

In other words, if all goes well, TNT may have its own Emmy-attracting period mob crime drama ala HBO’s Prohibition-set “Boardwalk Empire.”

Alas, as you might suspect, given the show’s title and subject matter, chances are next to zilch that Darabont will enhance the local economy and roll tanks through our downtown streets to battle mobsters as he did when he directed the pilot for “The Walking Dead” here in 2010.

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