When critics and audiences began raving about Albert Brooks’ menacing portrayal in the 2011 thriller Drive, I was curious as to why Oscar Isaac, who had a small but outstanding performance in the same film, was not getting any love. Three years later, Isaac is finally starting to get his due. After a terrific performance as the title character in Inside Llewyn Davis and with lots of buzz surrounding his upcoming films A Most Violent Year and The Two Faces of January (not to mention that Star Wars episode), Isaac is becoming one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood. So, it is no surprise that he is turning to HBO to keep his options fresh, as the network just greenlit Show Me a Hero, a new six-hour miniseries starring Isaac.
In the drama, which is based on true events (and Lisa Belkin’s non-fiction book of the same name), Isaac will play Nick Wasicsko, the young mayor of Yonkers, New York, who a court forced to build low-income housing units in white neighborhoods. The decision sparked an outrage and racial tension in the late 1980s and Wasicsko’s political future was caught in the middle of the firestorm. Catherine Keener also headlines Show Me a Hero, which is being developed by The Wire and Treme creator David Simon.
Simon certainly knows how to create a drama with compelling characters that offers an authentic look at racial and class divisions in the United States. He was also a Baltimore Sun reporter for many years and wrote two terrific books, including Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, which inspired the beloved NBC drama Homicide. If his depiction of Yonkers is half as compelling as his non-fiction writing or the Baltimore he chronicled for five seasons on The Wire, this should be must-see TV.
Paul Haggis, who has seen a career dip after winning the Best Screenplay Oscar for Crash, is tapped to direct Show Me a Hero. Although his involvement in a project about racial controversy could worry some Crash detractors, the cast and production team should be quality enough to quell these early concerns. Simon will executive produce Show Me A Hero and adapt the screenplay with William F. Zorzi, who also worked on The Wire and at the Baltimore Sun with Simon.
As always, we’ll keep you posted when we hear more.