Can a New Scorsese Production Repeat HBO’s ‘True Detective’ Magic?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

While all the hub-bub from the Emmys is winding down, HBO is getting over True Detective’s loss by ordering a pilot for a new series based on Martin Scorsese’s 2010 thriller Shutter Island that will be directed by the iconic filmmaker. Deadline got the inside scoop on the show, which will be called Ashecliffe after the mental institution where Shutter Island takes place and be set before the events of the film.

Novelist Dennis Lehane, who wrote the book on which Shutter Island is based as well as a slew of popular novels, is set to pen the screenplay as well. With that kind of talent attached to write and direct, it’s left to Internet bloggers and television journalists to speculate wildly about who might star in the series. Would it be too much to hope for Scorsese to convince Leonardo DiCaprio to come to the small screen? Though the role on True Detective didn’t nab Matthew McConaughey an Emmy, it raised this year’s McConaughey obsession to a fever pitch and Rust Cohle is considered to be one of the greatest roles of the actor’s career. DiCaprio could see similar benefits if Ashecliffe turns out on a similar playing field of quality as True Detective.

Deadline says that the show will take place in the early 1900s and be about the history of the mental hospital and the immoral deeds of its owners, who developed some questionable methods for treating the mentally ill. It sounds like just the kind of creepy material that fans of series like True Detective and American Horror Story will love.

It’s worth noting that Shutter Island didn’t get the best reviews when it came out and isn’t exactly considered to be one of Scorsese’s best films. The movie only has a 69 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was criticized for being a bit too full of horror movie clichés. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously and Scorsese has fun throwing every ridiculous horror/thriller device at the audience he can imagine. If it can be accepted as borderline camp, Shutter Island is a fun ride.

This isn’t all that Scorsese has planned for HBO, which must be paying the legendary director a lot, in the coming year. Scorsese already produces the mafia series Boardwalk Empire, written by The Sopranos writer Terence Winter, who Scorsese worked with on last year’s Oscar nominated movie The Wolf of Wall Street. Scorsese also recently began filming an as-yet-untitled rock and roll project for the network that’s being produced by Mick Jagger and takes place in New York City in the 1970s as punk and disco are on the rise. That show has gotten a lot of buzz given an all-star cast including Ray Romano, Olivia Wilde, Juno Temple, and Bobby Cannavale.

While it seems Scorsese is going to direct all of the Untitled Rock ‘n’ Roll Project, he may only stay on to direct the pilot of Ashecliffe as he did with Boardwalk Empire. Either way, the series seems like it’s another one with some big potential coming from HBO.

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Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS