Netflix orders Chinatown prequel series from Robert Towne, David Fincher
Chinatown is widely regarded as perhaps the most essential film in the neo-noire genre, and Netflix is looking to further explore its dark world of private investigating with a prequel series from original writer Robert Towne and Mindhunter‘s David Fincher, according to Deadline.
The series, whose pilot is being scripted by Towne and Fincher, will follow a younger version of Jake Gittes (played in the films by Jack Nicholson) as he first starts exploring the wealth and corruption in the Los Angeles area and navigates the worlds of land, oil and gangs.
In addition to helping with the script, Fincher is set to executive produce alongside Towne and Josh Donen, with sources reporting the streaming service’s hope is that the Mindhunter EP will also step behind the director’s chair for the pilot.
Towne won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for his work on the 1974 original, and returned alongside Nicholson for the 1990 sequel The Two Jakes. The follow-up, which saw the star step behind the director’s chair instead of Roman Polanski and saw Towne return to script, was a box office failure but did receive generally positive reviews from critics.
The Chinatown prequel series will mark the fifth collaboration between Netflix and Fincher, who became one of the first A-list directors to explore TV production, beginning with House of Cards and followed by Mindhunter and Love, Death & Robots. He is currently attached to direct Mank, the biopic surrounding Herman J. Mankiewicz, the screenwriter of Citizen Kane, and his problems with director Orson Welles during its production, including sharing the Oscar for screenwriting. The film will feature an ensemble cast led by Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) that also includes Amanda Seyfried (Scoob!), Lily Collins (Tolkien) and Charles Dance (Godzilla: King of the Monsters).