American Gangster Is Being Turned Into A TV Show

Universal Pictures

Fantastic news for film fans as one of the best gangster films of recent history is being turned into a TV show.

2007’s American Gangster was an epic 3-hour cinematic rollercoaster based on the real life of Frank Lucas.

Denzel Washington played the New York gangster and depicted his incredible rise to the top of the underworld thanks to his devious drug dealing innovations. Including allegedly smuggling heroin using the corpses of US servicemen.


Now Narcos co-creator Chris Brancato has revealed he’s working on a prequel for TV while speaking to Screen Daily.

Universal Pictures

Here’s the trailer for the 2007 film to give you an idea of what to expect from the new TV show:

[ooyala code=”JmMDU3ZDE6w6dAL1GPBhviBQ34h7vKnB” player_id=”5df2ff5a35d24237905833bd032cd5d8″ auto=”true” width=”1280″ height=”692″ pcode=”twa2oyOnjiGwU8-cvdRQbrVTiR2l”]

The director said of the upcoming series:

It stars Forest Whitaker, he will play our lead character. It’s essentially the prequel to the movie American Gangster.

The series is set five years before Ridley Scott’s American Gangster film and Whitaker will play 1960s gangster Bumpy Johnson.

Getty Images

It’s no surprise than another franchise is taking a swing at New York’s seedy underside, after all it is well known that people are morbidly attracted to famous criminals.

However, Brancato has identified some interesting themes that he can weave together to make this much more than your average gangster show:

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.

That actually sounds like it has huge potential to be a really thought provoking show.

Hopefully there are some explosions too though…