David E. Kelley is teaming with Joseph Wambaugh to create a police drama based on Wambaugh’s novel “Hollywood Station,” which Little, Brown releases in November.
Scribe-producer’s 20th Century Fox TV-based David E. Kelley Prods. has acquired rights to the book, which chronicles the lives of LAPD cops who work the gritty streets of Hollywood. Kelley and Wambaugh will co-create and co-write the pilot script.
As with many of his projects, Kelley is writing “Hollywood Station” on spec, with plans to take the project to networks after the script is finished.
Kelley and Wambaugh said they don’t want the TV take on “Hollywood Station” to be a crime-of-the-week procedural.
While the two writers haven’t started outlining specifics, “the plots and stories that we choose will probably be the ones that explore the characters and their lives,” Kelley said. “It’s not going to be a series with guys in blue suits solving crimes.”
Wambaugh said fellow author James Ellroy “prompted me to do this book,” the first Wambaugh has set in Los Angeles since 1983’s “The Delta Star.” Author interviewed more than 50 LAPD officers over drinks and dinner meetings.
“Hollywood is a different place than anywhere else,” he told Daily Variety, recalling a true story about celeb impersonators involved in a crime.
“You can get a call from Grauman’s that Batman has assaulted Spider-Man, and the person who called it in is Marilyn Monroe — and Marilyn is actually a 6′ 2″ transvestite. There’s priceless stuff in Hollywood, and I want to take David over there and expose him to it.”
Kelley said Wambaugh’s book presents a “cauldron” of colorful personalities, making it ripe for a series.
“It’s a franchise where you have all these interesting characters whose lives intersect and cross paths with equally colorful characters on the other side of the law,” he said.
“Hollywood Station” would be the first Wambaugh novel to be turned into a TV series. He created the 1970s skein “Police Story,” while some of his books have been turned into telepics.
Wambaugh also adapted his book for 1979 feature “The Onion Field.”
As for Kelley, scribe plans to turn his attention to “Hollywood Station” after wrapping up the script for “Life on Mars,” the BBC skein he’s adapting for ABC. Kelley also is involved in the writing and production of his Alphabet skein “Boston Legal.”
Scribe has been inspired by Wambaugh before. He named Fyvush Finkel’s character in “Picket Fences” Douglas Wambaugh after the writer.
Kelley is repped by WMA, Marty Adelstein and attorney Michael Gendler. Wambaugh is repped by Joel Gotler.