New York’s Westies gang heads to bigscreen

Trio set adaptation of T.J. English book

Shane McCarthy, Gil Adler (“Superman Returns”) and Frank Baldwin are developing a feature version of T.J. English’s mob tale “The Westies” and will produce through McCarthy’s Blue Engine Entertainment and Gil Adler Prods.

The tome, published two decades ago, centers on the rise to power of the Westies gang during the 1970s and ’80s in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan. The Irish-American gang led by Jimmy Coonan and Francis (Mickey) Featherstone aligned itself with the Gambino crime family and enforced its racketeering schemes with a campaign of murder and dismemberment until the NYPD’s Intelligence Division brought them down.

McCarthy’s also producing “When Corruption Was King,” set up at Paramount with Temple Hill Entertainment and based on a screenplay by Baldwin that made the 2009 Blacklist; and “Havana Nocturne,” for Eric Eisner’s L + E Pictures. Adler is also producing the latter, which Matt Cirulnick is adapting from the bestselling T.J. English book about organized crime in Cuba in the 1950s.

McCarthy, Adler and Baldwin are also collaborating on an adaptation of Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman’s “Tower” that Baldwin is penning.

“‘The Westies’ is a riveting true crime saga and also one of the great untold stories of the 20th century Irish-American experience,” McCarthy said.

The 1990 film “State of Grace” starred Sean Penn as an undercover officer who infiltrates the Westies.

Adler’s producing credits include “Valkyrie,” “Superman Returns,” “Constantine” and “Starsky and Hutch.” Baldwin also wrote an untitled Gregory Hoblit project, set up at Castle Rock, and an untitled Pierre Morel Tokyo thriller for Paramount.

McCarthy founded production-financing company Blue Engine to focus on developing crime stories for film and TV.

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