“GoodFellas” to Get the Small Screen Treatment?

11/23/2010 Posted by Admin

“GoodFellas” to Get the Small Screen Treatment?

Movie News

By our guest blogger, Joe Oliveto

With “The Sopranos” lingering in our memory as one of the best TV shows of all time and “Boardwalk Empire” quickly earning heaps of praise from critics and fans alike, it comes as no surprise that networks are looking for other mob stories to tell. We don’t suppose it’s any coincidence that a “GoodFellas” TV show is in the works, then.

Deadline is reporting that the classic mafia movie from Martin Scorsese is being developed into a possible series by Nick Pileggi, who authored the non-fiction book upon which the film was based. “GoodFellas” told the true story of Henry Hill, a low-level gangster who sold out his friends to the FBI after being arrested for drug dealing. Pileggi himself will possibly write the pilot episode, and with Scorsese serving as Executive Producer of “Boardwalk Empire,” it’s possible that even he will have a role in the show.

The series is in the earliest stages of development and we likely won’t see anything from it for at least a year, but at first glance, this news is sure to spark some conflicted reactions. On the one hand, there’s probably a lot more to Henry Hill’s story that could be told over the course of a series; Scorsese squeezed an impressive amount of detail into his film, but it is impossible to get all the major events in there. This show could possibly be to “GoodFellas” what “Band of Brothers” was to “Saving Private Ryan.”

However, “GoodFellas” has an enormous reputation among film buffs—Total Film magazine ranked it as the number one movie of all time a few years ago—and it’s tough to believe that fans of the original will accept any other actors in these iconic roles. Who has enough talent to replace Robert De Niro? Even acclaimed actor Donald Sutherland didn’t--he played the same real-life gangster nine years ago in a TV movie about the Lufthansa heist referenced in “GoodFellas.”

Whether the show is necessary, one thing is for sure--if it doesn’t end up on HBO or Showtime, it will be a massive failure. “GoodFellas” is admired for its authenticity, and you can’t provide viewers with an authentic depiction of mob life if the profanity, violence and drugs are all cut out.

Maybe Pileggi can pull this one off, but it almost feels like a cash-in, and that’s always reason for concern.

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