‘American Gangster’ Prequel Series In The Works With Forest Whitaker Lined Up To Star | TV News


2007’s American Gangster seems to have been lost in the shuffle within director Ridley Scott‘s oeuvre. Amidst a career of movies often ranging from good to great, the film remains stellar but often forgotten. However, Narcos co-creator Chris Brancato obviously remembers the film fondly, as he’s developing a prequel series to the film, currently titled The Godfather Of Harlem.


Set five years before the events of the film, the show will be set in 1960s Harlem and star Forest Whitaker as mob boss Elsworth “Bumpy” Johnson. Brancato spoke with ScreenDaily about the series, saying: “It’s Harlem, the 1960s, a gangster named Bumpy Johnson was very close friends with Malcolm X, so the show is about the collision of the criminal underworld and the civil rights movement”.


Brancato went on to add: “It’s an opportunity to examine some of the things that are going on racially right now, but through the prism of the past”, and he’s spot on that not only would this be a way to perhaps improve on a film that didn’t reach its potential, but also commentate on real life racial issues through the series, as art and politics continue to become inseparable.


Brancato also excitedly mentioned that he’s been speaking with Kendrick Lamar about providing the music for the series, which would mark the second high profile rapper to be heavily involved in the American Gangster universe (if that’s what we’re calling it), after Jay-Z recorded a concept album of the same name inspired by the film and released in conjunction with it in 2007.


So, there’s more than enough to get very excited about the project, which, once it enters the market, is expected to land at Netflix, Amazon or Hulu, with Netflix the likely frontrunners considering their working relationship with Brancato on Narcos.



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