EXCLUSIVE: Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter’s long-gestating rock ‘n’ roll drama for HBO has taken another step to fruition. Feature writer-directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Ocean’s Thirteen) have been tapped to showrun the project should it go to series. The two also will do some rewriting on Winter’s pilot script, working with him. The untitled Rock ‘n’ Roll series, which Boardwalk Empire executive producers Scorsese and Winter created with Rolling Stones’ Jagger, has been in the works at HBO since 2010, moving on a slow track because of the auspices’ busy schedules. Winter has been running Boardwalk Empire, which is headed into Season 4; Scorsese has been focused on features; while Jagger has been touring. Things started to pick up earlier this summer when Bobby Cannavale became attached to play the lead, and the project began gearing up for an early 2014 shoot with Scorsese directing the pilot just like he did with the Winter-penned Boardwalk Empire pilot that netted him a directing Emmy. There is no formal green light yet, but hiring showrunners is usually a good sign that things are moving in that direction. The project follows the exploits of Richie (Cannavale), a cocaine-fueled record exec in New York City circa 1977, when punk, disco and a new form of music called hip-hop collided. Richie is a talented A&R guy who is elevated to run a big label, even though he thinks he’s better suited to focusing on day-to-day music matters. Koppelman is bringing nine years of experience as an A&R executive to the project. He worked for Elektra Records, Giant Records, SBK Records and EMI Records and is credited with discovering Tracy Chapman.
Scorsese and Jagger, who worked together on the Rolling Stones documentary Shine A Light, began the rock ‘n’ roll project as a feature after Jagger told Scorsese they ought to make a movie like Casino in the world of the music biz. They set it at Paramount, which is involved in the series. Scorsese, Jagger, Winter, Jagged Films’ Victoria Pearman, Sikelia president Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Rick Yorn are executive producers. In TV, CAA-repped Koppelman and Levien wrote the 2003 ABC drama pilot The Street Lawyer and created and executive produced the ESPN series Tilt. They most recently penned the upcoming Ben Affleck-Justin Timberlake starrer Runner Runner.