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'American Gangster' Is Getting A Prequel TV Series

Mark McGowan

| Last updated 

'American Gangster' Is Getting A Prequel TV Series

In the past the natural thing is for a TV show to be made into a film, for it then to spawn a number of sequels if it's successful enough. Failing that it'll get some kind of spin-off for a popular minor character.

For films though, that have no previous connections, the normal step is for it to either be left as it is, or get a sequel. However, given the rise of streaming services like Netflix, more and more people are watching full series at one time, meaning a lot of films are being condensed into eight or so episodes.

It's good news for fans of American Gangster, as it's going to fall into the latter category, as it's reportedly getting a TV prequel series.

The original, released in 2007, was directed by Ridley Scott, who also gave us brilliance like Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, so it was never really going to be bad, was it?

There's no news yet whether Scott will be involved in the series, but co-creator of Narcos Chris Brancato is very much involved.

In an interview with Screen International Brancato said: "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.

"It's an opportunity to examine some of the things that are going on racially right now but through the prism of the past. The show will be set around five years before Gangster."

According to Empire Online, Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Southpaw) will play Bumpy Johnson.

It's of course early days in any of this, meaning details are few and far between. However, given the success of Narcos on Netflix, it's fair to presume that the streaming service will be home to this series, too.

Bumpy Johnson, real name Ellsworth Raymond Johnson, became known as The Godfather of Harlem due to him being a mob boss. He died from congestive heart failure in 1968 at the age of 62, while under a federal indictment for drug conspiracy.

He was allegedly arrested more than 40 times, which brought him three stretches in prison, all of which were on drug-related charges.

What will follow now is a long agonising period where we're kept in the dark about all of this, only being teased about it.

Featured Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Topics: TV and Film, Film and TV, UK Entertainment, US Entertainment, Netflix, Narcos

Mark McGowan
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