With True Detective and Breaking Bad duking it out at the Emmys tonight, it’s never been clearer that television is on the verge of overtaking cinema in terms of entertainment value, if it hasn’t already. And now we’re hearing about another small-screen project with absolutely extraordinary potential – HBO and Paramount are reportedly plotting a Shutter Island-related series tentatively titled Ashecliffe, with intentions for that thriller’s director Martin Scorsese to helm a pilot scripted by Shutter Island author Dennis Lehane.
No word yet on whether Laeta Kalogridis, who worked with Scorsese to adapt Lehane’s book into the aforementioned hit film that Leonardo DiCaprio starred in, is involved with the project, but we do know that Ashecliffe will be set before the events of the film, with a focus on the dark, tormented history of the island’s central hospital. Deadline reports that the gritty series will explore “the secrets and misdeeds perpetrated by its founders who erected the hospital in the early 20th Century and developed the methods of treatment use for the mentally ill.”
Paramount TV head Amy Powell is credited with brainstorming the series, which Lehane is reportedly a big fan of. He’ll be working with Tom Bernardo to pen the script for the pilot and outline overarching plot ideas that expand the vision of his original novel.
It may be a while until Ashecliffe arrives on HBO – Scorsese’s busy schedule next has him jetting off to Taiwan to direct historical drama Silence, based on the Shusako Endo novel about Jesuit priests facing persecution in the 17th Century. He’ll perhaps be able to fit filming the pilot in after that, provided a script and cast is locked into place. There are still many deals to make with regard to Ashecliffe, but with HBO, Paramount TV, Scorsese and Lehane all enthused about the project, it would take quite a series of roadblocks to keep this series from eventually making its way to air.