'American Gangster' Prequel Series Is in the Works, Taps Forest Whitaker in Lead Role

Titled 'The Godfather of Harlem', the planned project, which is set five years before the events in the Denzel Washington-starring movie, stars Whitaker as a gangster named Bumpy Johnson.

AceShowbiz - Almost 10 years after "American Gangster" was released, "Narcos" co-creator Chris Brancato reveals that he is developing a prequel TV series to the flick, titled "The Godfather of Harlem". "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" actor Forest Whitaker is set to star in lead role, Screen Daily reports.

"It's Harlem, the 1960s, a gangster named Bumpy Johnson was very close friends with Malcom X, so the show is about the collision of the criminal underworld and the civil rights movement," Brancato explains at the MIA market conference in Rome. "It's an opportunity to examine some of the things that are going on racially right now, but through the prism of the past."

Fans may find the name familiar as Denzel Washington's character, Frank Lucas, name-dropped Johnson in an early scene of the 2007 movie. Lucas mentioned Johnson was his mentor.

Brancato further reveals that the script for the planned series, which is set five years before the events in the 2007 movie, has been written. The producer/writer also says that he is in talks with Kendrick Lamar to provide the music for the series. Netflix, Amazon or Hulu are among potentials home for the project once it's finalized.

Directed by Ridley Scott and based on a true story, "American Gangster" starred Washington as heroin kingpin Frank Lucas and Russell Crowe as New York City police detective Richie Roberts, who was determined to bring down Lucas' drug empire. The flick nabbed three Golden Globe nominations, including Best Drama. In addition, the movie also snagged a pair of Oscar nominations, one of which was for Best Supporting Actress for Ruby Dee.

Brancato, who exited "Narcos" after one season, also shares during the event that he's working on the script for the third Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr.

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