There are a few instances of directors remaking their own work, like Alfred Hitchcock redoing The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1956, some 22 years after his initial version. But how about a director adapting his own movie as a TV show? That’s a really unusual twist.
That’s what Martin Scorsese has lined up for one of his next projects. Scorsese will direct a TV version of The Gangs of New York, based on Herbert Asbury’s non-fiction account of New York City’s rough-and-tumble early days. Scorsese previously directed a feature film version of the material, which was released in 2002 and starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, and Daniel Day-Lewis as the unforgettable Bill the Butcher.
According to Deadline, the TV series shares a title and a basic premise with the movie but is “a new take on the story with new characters that were not featured in the movie.” They also note that Scorsese “responded to [Brett] Leonard’s script” for the pilot, and decided to join the series as executive producer and director.
Although best known as a feature filmmaker, Scorsese has worked more and more in television in the last 15 years. He directed the pilots for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Vinyl, and he also made the documentary series Pretend It’s a City for Netflix.
The Gangs of New York film was a passion project of Scorsese’s; he worked on the material for years and years before it was finally produced and released. At the time, Gangs was noted for its massive production, which was amongst the biggest and most expensive ever mounted by Miramax, then still under the auspices of Harvey Weinstein. (He and Scorsese supposedly clashed over the budget and creative control of the movie.) In the end, the film was a box-office hit, but it wound up totally shut out of the Academy Awards, where it was nominated for ten prizes but took home nothing.
I’m not the biggest Gangs of New York fan, but I’m always intrigued any time Scorsese wants to make anything about New York City history. Few are better than that sort of project than him.