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‘Chinatown’ Prequel Series in Development at Netflix From David Fincher, Robert Towne

A prequel series to the classic film “Chinatown” is in early development at NetflixVariety has confirmed with sources.

David Fincher and Robert Towne, the film’s writer, are attached to pen the script. It will reportedly focus on the exploits of a young Jake “J.J.” Gittes during his early days as a private investigator.

Netflix declined to comment.

The film was released in 1974 and starred Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. Nicholson played Gittes, who is originally hired to expose an adulterer but becomes embroiled in a much larger plot. Roman Polanski directed with Robert Evans producing. The film became a box office and critical hit upon its release, racking up eleven Academy Award nominations. Towne ultimately took home the film’s lone Oscar statuette for best original screenplay. A sequel titled “The Two Jakes” was released in 1990 with Nicholson and Towne returning.

In addition to his Oscar win for “Chinatown,” Towne was nominated for his work on the screenplays for the films “The Last Detail” — another Nicholson starring vehicle — as well as “Shampoo” and “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.” His other credited works include “The Firm” and “Mission: Impossible.”

Fincher previously worked with Netflix during his time on the critically-acclaimed drama “House of Cards,” on which he served as executive producer in addition to directing the first two episodes. He is also an executive producer and director on the current Netflix show “Mindhunters” and an executive producer on the Netflix anthology series “Love, Death & Robots.” He is best known for his film work, having directed films such as “Seven,” “Gone Girl,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and “The Social Network,” with the final two earning him Oscar nominations for best director. He most recently directed the Netflix film “Mank,” which stars Gary Oldman as “Citizen Kane” writer Herman Mankiewicz.

Should the “Chinatown” project go to series, it would not be the first classic Nicholson film to get the Netflix prequel series treatment. The streamer is currently prepping the drama series “Ratched” starring Sarah Paulson from executive producer Ryan Murphy. The series will explore the backstory of the infamous Nurse Ratched from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Deadline first reported the development news.

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