Amazon adapting The Departed as TV series
James R | On 24, Aug 2016
Amazon is adapting The Departed as a TV series for its growing library of original shows.
The latest in a trend of turning big-screen hits into small-screen entertainment, it’s only fitting that Martin Scorsese’s 2006 Oscar winner should get the telly treatment – it itself was a remake of the Hong Kong film, Infernal Affairs. From a budget of $90 million, it also grossed almost $300 million, which Amazon will hope is a sign of a profitable premise.
The project is being produced by Amazon Studios with Vertigo Entertainment, Initial Entertainment Group and Plan B Entertainment, all of whom produced the 2006 film.
The production is in association with Warner Bros TV, whose sister cinema studio was also behind Scorsese flick. Deadline reports there was much competition for the project, but Amazon’s deal “stems from Vertigo’s two-year overall deal with the TV studio, which the company inked at the end of 2015”. Indeed, the series is the first project the company has put in development under that pact.
The crime drama will be written Detroit 1-8-7 creator Jason Richman and update the double-undercover concept of the original films; where The Departed was set in Boston and tackled the Irish mob, this will take place in modern-day Chicago, where ethnic drug gangs repeatedly clash over power and powder. The police send a young cop undercover to infiltrate to a Latino gang, which simultaneously plants its own mole in the police department. A covert battle of wits and survival ensues.
Richman will executive produce the series, alongside the film’s producer, Graham King, Vertigo’s founder, Roy Lee, and head of TV, Michael Connolly, Plan B’s Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Sarah Esberg, plus Tripp Vinson, Doug Davison and Gianni Nunnari.
The show also marks Amazon Studios’ growing commercial ambitions, as the company’s streaming arm follows the more conventional film-to-TV approach, following breakout hits such as Transparent and The Man in the High Castle, neither of which have much built-in mainstream appeal. Indeed, the deal follows a similar order for a TV series based on Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, starring John Krasinski.