Say what you will about Akiva Goldsman, but the guy responsible for stuff like “Batman Forever,” “Batman & Robin,” “Jonah Hex” and the “Paranormal Activity” sequels does manage to deliver something a cut above his usual dreck whenever he pairs up with Ron Howard. While we’ll politely ignore the Dan Brown adaptations, the duo collaborated in fine form with “A Beautiful Mind” and “Cinderella Man,” and were prepared to work together again on the expansive “The Dark Tower” before Universal walked away. And while Brain Grazer recently revealed that HBO will be taking on the television portion of the Stephen King adaptation, it looks like the other two-thirds of the trio have been busy talking to the network about something else.
Deadline reports that Goldsman has set up a western series at HBO centered around Doc Holliday, based on the novel “Doc” by Mary Doria Russell. The project will slightly tweak big screen versions of Holiday we’ve seen in the past, portraying the tubercular man as an ailing dentist who enters the gun slinging ways of the wild west as he becomes sicker. So, like a ten gallon hat version of “Breaking Bad” then? The story will also focus on the love triangle between Holliday, Kate Elder (his prostitute wife) and his best bud Wyatt Earp. Hot.
Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (“Accpeted“) are penning the script, and Ron Howard is attached to direct the pilot for the project, which has brought together a bunch of family members. Ron’s mom and dad, Rance Howard and Judy Howard are serving as co-producers, particularly as the former has a “fascination” with Holliday. Though initially conceived as a mini-series, HBO wants it as a brand new show. The network’s last stab at a western was the late, great and sorely missed “Deadwood,” so this will have some very big shoes to fill.
No word yet on when it will go, but with Ron Howard just gearing up to shoot “Rush,” they will have to wait until that movie wraps up if they want him for the pilot episode. So we’re looking at end of 2012 at the earliest for production to even start.