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Walter Mosley Says NBC Passed On ‘Easy Rawlins’ TV Series + Sam Jackson Interested In ‘Ptolemy Grey’

Walter Mosley Says NBC Passed On 'Easy Rawlins' TV Series + Sam Jackson Interested In 'Ptolemy Grey'

Talk about a buzz kill…

Recall when it was announced last fall that a TV series based on Walter Mosley’s fictional African American private investigator Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, was in the works for the NBC network, and the thrill many of you felt in reaction to the news? 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.

Well… we need not argue about it anymore, because, apparently, NBC killed it. 

I was reading THIS LA Times interview with Mosley (dated today) in which he states the following when asked what his newly-formed production company was up to:

“… I did a script about Easy Rawlins which I gave to NBC and they passed on that.”

So obviously he’s referring to the series that was announced in September, which he was penning the pilot for at the time. Why did NBC pass on it, especially at the script stage? Who knows. I wasn’t in that meeting, although if anyone reading this was, tell us what happened. 

But maybe it’s all well and good, especially for those of you who weren’t too thrilled with the idea of a NBC-based Easy Rawlins series. Maybe NBC saw what you saw.

Regardless, it looks like it’s not happening anymore… at least not on NBC.

Further in that same LA Times interview, in response to that same question about what his production company was up to (he teamed up with TV series and documentary producer Diane Houslin to launch a new production company, B.O.B. Filmhouse (Best of Brooklyn Filmhouse), with the goal being to play an “active role” in the adaptation of his novels into films and TV series), Mosley said this:

“I’m looking to make television and shows and movies — my kind. I’m very happy with the movies that have been done [of his work]. I’m not happy with the regularity; I’d like to do more. I wrote a script based on “The Long Fall” for HBO, and I’m waiting for them to respond […] Sam Jackson’s company has an expressed an interest in doing “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” as a movie.”

Mosley has a deal in place with HBO, for his Leonid McGill series – the New York City private investigator, starting with the first book in the series titled, The Long Fall, which is what he’s talking about in the above quote.

Mosley said in January that he’s pretty much outlined the entire first season for HBO, which would be based on The Long Fall, and that he was to meet with HBO execs a couple of months ago when we last reported this, during which I assumed he’d be handing over what he’d done, and they’ll further discuss the ongoing project.

So when he says today that he’s waiting for them to respond, I can’t help but be anxious; they may pass on it just as NBC did with the Easy Rawlins project. We’ll see… we’ll keeping waiting for them to respond.

When asked in an NPR interview who his choice is for the starring role in the Leonid McGill series, guess who he named? Jeffrey Wright of course! Wouldn’t that be awesome. 

The revelation that Samuel L Jackson “has an expressed an interest in doing The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey as a movie” is news to me.

But I won’t hold my breath on that one either.

So what’s left out of all the Mosley projects we’ve announced that may still be in play (or that I don’t have any new info on)? There’s the TNT network’s ordering of a pilot for Mosley’s Fearless Jones series of novels, with plans for an eventual TV series; also B.O.B. Filmhouse was said to be in “active talks” to develop a project with Don Cheadle’s Crescendo Productions, although no word on what that project is; and finally there’s the development of a feature film based on Mosley’s psychological thriller Man In My Basement, with Anthony Mackie in talks to star and Mosley co-writing the screenplay with Cheo Hodari Coker (Southland).

No movement on any of those yet. 

So much activity it seems to get fans excited about what might be to come, but, as we’ve seen here, nothing’s guaranteed. All of these projects may go the way that the NBC one did; but, at least, we hope to see even just ONE of these deals go all the way, and hopefully soon.

As Mosley himself said, while he’s happy that some of his work has made it to the screen, he’d like to see more, and with some regularity. I with him on that.

Also worth noting is just how much work for black actors all of these projects would create if most of them happen.

You can read the full LA Times piece HERE. Meanwhile, I’m going to work on getting an interview with the man.

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