Producer Paul Maslansky has optioned movie rights to “Coming Through Slaughter,” a book about jazz legend Buddy Bolden by Michael Ondaatje.
Ben Ross is writing the script with Mark Bailey and will helm the film.
Maslansky is providing coin for development. He will seek out a studio once the script has been completed, he said.
Set in early 1900s New Orleans, Ondaatje’s book tells the life story of Bolden, a legendary cornettist who was a formative influence on jazz and on greats like Louis Armstrong.
“He was never recorded, but Buddy was considered the first king of jazz,” Maslansky said. “He was the son of slaves, he was a barber and ran the first black newspaper there. But his greatest contribution was as a pioneer in the form of music that would become jazz. No one has really touched the story of how jazz came to be America’s first truly developed art form.”
Maslansky said he chased Ondaatje for nine years before the author finally relented and approved Ross and Bailey.
Maslansky has produced more than 40 films, including those in the lucrative “Police Academy” series. Ross directed “The Young Poisoner’s Handbook” and HBO’s “RKO 281.” Ondaatje wrote “The English Patient.”