Showtime is teaming with Forest Whitaker to develop “Mr. Untouchable,” a drama series that will chronicle the true story of flashy Harlem heroin dealer Leroy “Nicky” Barnes.
Barnes is portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the Ridley Scott film American Gangster, which opens today.
Variety says the Showtime project has no official connection to Scott’s pic, nor is Gooding involved. Instead, “Mr. Untouchable” is based on helmer Marc Levin’s just-released Magnolia documentary of the same name.
Whitaker and Levin will executive produce the Showtime series, with David Burke (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) serving as writer and exec producer.
The series will tell the story of how Barnes built a drug empire in the 1970s that rivaled that of the Italian Mafia. It will show how he rose to great heights, but with his success coming at the expense of his Harlem community. The series will also detail the government’s war on drugs and how it failed for years to bring Barnes down.