While James Mangold is getting ready to tell Hugh Jackman which way to point his claws in “The Wolverine,” which will start shooting this fall, he’s keeping at least one foot planted outside the comic franchise.
In what is a bit of a surprise — considering how all-consuming tentpole filmmaking can be — Deadline reports that Mangold is set to direct a new series (presumably just the pilot, though the piece is unclear) “Ralph Lamb” for CBS, based on the life of the Las Vegas sheriff who delivered justice on horseback in the ’60s and ’70s. Telling the story will be Nicholas Pileggi, the man behind “Goodfellas” and “Casino,” who’ll co-write with Greg Walker (“Without A Trace“) and it’s a pretty interesting tale. Lamb revolutionized the police department in Vegas, bringing in a modern crime lab and assembling the city’s first SWAT team, but he was probably best known for squaring off against the Mafia, which still controlled most of the casinos at the time, but whose influence was beginning to fade. More notoriously, there were rumors that Lamb’s men went ahead and killed mobsters who didn’t stay in line, though the sheriff denied those accusations. So yeah, it’s right in the “Casino” wheelhouse in terms of the setting and with period-based series all the rage now — “Mad Men,” this fall’s “The Playboy Club” and “Pan Am” — it has the potential to be a hit.
Mangold has been taking a shine to TV, recently directing the pilot episode of the forthcoming police procedural “The 2-2” also for CBS and executive produced by Robert De Niro, so yeah, we can probably see all the connected dots right there. No word on if this will go before or after “The Wolverine” but we’d guess after, with a hope that it’s added to the 2012 fall season or midseason.