Legendary Television, the production company behind The Expanse, Colony, and Netflix’s Pacific Rim: The Black, is developing a new true-crime drama series centering around the much-maligned relationship between Norman Mailer and convicted killer Jack Henry Abbott, with Boyd Halbrook (Narcos) set to star as the murderous Abbott.
The series entitled Executioner will follow one of the most scandalous events in New York City history, when Mailer helped get Abbott paroled from prison, allowing the convict to kill again, go on the run causing a nationwide manhunt and giving the city of New York the trial of a century.
In 1977 Abbott, who was already serving time for forgery, stabbing a fellow inmate, escaping prison, and robbing a bank in Colorado, caught wind that author Norman Mailer, was about convicted killer Gary Gilmore. Incensed, Abbott wrote to Mailer claiming that Gilmore was embellishing his crimes and experiences, offering to write about his time in prison, as that would be a more factual account of what life in prison would really be like. Mailer agreed and co-authored the book In the Belly of the Beast, a book that would detail life in the prison system, as laid out from Abbott’s letters to Mailer.
Executioner is the brainchild of writer Anthony Tambakis (Warrior), who is an award-winning short story writer and is currently working on a World War II film, Victory, for Warner Brothers. He also just finished a biopic focusing on guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Andrew Levitas will direct. Levitas is no stranger to directing, as he has two films under his belt, both of which he wrote and directed, Lullaby and Minamata. The former, his feature debut, tells the story of a man estranged from his family who finds out his father will take himself off life support in 48 hours. Holbrook, who is known to comic book fans as Pierce in James Mangold’s Logan, is currently shooting an unknown lead role in the highly anticipated Indiana Jones 5 film, which is set to be released sometime in 2023.
Holbrook, Levita, and Tambakis will executive procedure Executioner, which currently has no date for when the series will begin filming.