HBO has been lining up terrific projects left and right with quite a few being announced just this past week. Today, Deadline reports that HBO is developing a drama project titled “Upstate.” The project comes from eOne Television and Cooper’s Town Productions, headed by actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and Emily Ziff. Written by Brett C. Leonard (HBO’s “Hung“) and playwright Bob Glaudini (who collaborated with Hoffman on “Jack Goes Boating“), the script focuses on Roy Perkins, a recently laid-off man who relocates his family to an undisclosed rural location in America in order to become a correctional officer in a private, for-profit prison. The town and Perkins’ family begins to prosper from this new prison, and tensions inside (and outside) the prison begin to erupt. There’s no word yet as to whether Hoffman will star in the lead role, or whether this project is being conceived as a pilot for a series or as a one-shot miniserie, but it sounds like some interesting material to be sure.
Meanwhile, HBO vet Chloe Sevigny of “Big Love” has also signed on for a new HBO project — a four-part miniseries in which she’ll play the infamous Lizzie Borden. Now titled — obviously — “Lizzie Borden,” the miniseries will be produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, whose production company goes way back with HBO, including the acclaimed miniseries “John Adams” and “Band of Brothers.” Sevigny will also co-executive produce the story about the young woman who was acquitted of the double murder of her father and step-mother, but was vilified by the public afterwards. The actress has been the driving force behind the project for some time now.
The network has also breathed new life into “Cocaine Cowboys,” a potential drama series inspired by Billy Corben‘s eponymous documentary about the rise of cocaine and the resulting crime epidemic in Miami in the ’70s and ’80s. HBO hired Michelle Ashford, a writer for “The Pacific” and “John Adams,” to pen an entirely new script for the pilot. The series, produced by action heavyweights Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay, will not feature actual people who were used in the documentary, but will borrow from the events to create a fictional series. The script has been sitting around HBO since 2008, when “Cold Case” creator Meredith Stiehm gave a pass at the pilot. Hopefully, Ashford will be the one to push it through. And in case you forgot, Mark Wahlberg is developing a feature film project based on the same material and recently, David O. Russell revealed he was eyeing it as a potential project. We’ll have to see which one makes it in front of cameras first.