Dope writer-director Rick Famuyiwa has officially joined writer-producer-actress Lena Waithe’s Showtime Chicago drama project. The project hails from Waithe, Common, Aaron Kaplan, and Fox 21 Studios, and has been redeveloped with Famuyiwa at the helm.
The untitled drama is described as the distinctive coming-of-age story of a young African-American male who lives in an environment where simply growing up can be a matter of life or death. Originated as a spec script by Waithe, who developed it with Kaplan at his Kapital Entertainment. The script landed a pilot order at Showtime in summer 2015 with Common on board as executive producer and Clark Johnson set to direct. Elwood Reid subsequently joined as showrunner.
The initial pilot did not go to series; however, a writers room was set up to produce several scripts and outlines, including a new pilot script. Based on the new material, Famuyiwa was brought in as the new director, and will now serve as an executive producer on the potential series alongside Waithe, Kaplan and Reid, who will continue as showrunner.
Many of the roles will be recast, and sources have revealed that it is very likely that this project will receive a 10-episode pickup. If the project receives a series pickup, it will join dramas such as Billions, The Affair, Episodes, Homeland, Dice, Ray Donovan and Shameless in addition to upcoming series including Guerrilla, I’m Dying Up Here, Purity and the Twin Peaks mini.
Waithe served as one of the producers of the hit indie film Dear White People. She has also written for Bones and is the creator of the popular web series Hello Cupid. Waithe can be seen next on Netflix’s Master of None.