Hollywood supernova Brad Pitt’s production company is currently in the process of developing a TV series for HBO that will center on an ex-gangster living in Buffalo, N.Y. trying to get his life back together by working at a debt collection agency, according to a report in entertainment trade publication Variety.
Pitt will be an executive producer for the series that his company, Plan B Entertainment, is developing with HBO. The series, which is slated for hour-long episodes, has already secured other producers and writers.
The series will be called “Paper,” and is based on an essay published in the New Yorker in 2010 titled “Pay Up.” That story took a critical look at the life of an ex-con who owns a debt collection agency in Buffalo that works older payday loans. A pervasive theme in the piece is the quality of the accounts – or “paper” – being worked by his collection agency, which is clearly near the bottom rung of the ARM world. It juxtaposed the tactics and conditions at his agency with those of a top-tier debt collection agency working fresh paper.
The HBO series appears to be focusing on the seedier aspects of the original piece, based on the brief description provided by Variety:
“Paper” centers on a notorious ex-gangster and single father in Buffalo, N.Y., who is trying to reform himself by also serving as a professional debt collector. He finds, however, that life in the debt collection business can be just as lethal as the biz he’s struggling to leave behind.
Rough. To get an idea of the tone, read the New Yorker article, seriously. It’s a very interesting piece anyway and we highly recommend it to anyone in the ARM industry.
The project is classified as “in development,” with no production schedule set. Currently, there are at least two producers and one writer attached. So it will probably be at least a year before we hear anything else about it.
But the prospects of the series making it to production are probably better than average. The most successful premium network shows tend to focus on crime and moral ambiguity (HBO’s “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” and Showtime’s “Homeland,” for example). And Plan B, while mostly concentrating on movies, has developed somewhat of a core competency in adapting and remaking previous works. The studio’s most prominent movies have been either adaptations or remakes (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Departed, The Time-Traveler’s Wife, Kick-Ass, Eat Pray Love, and next year’s World War Z).
So there is a good chance this is going to happen. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what appears on the screen.