Based on the nonfiction book Scarface and the Untouchable by Max Allen Collins and A. Brad Schwartz, a series adaptation is in development at Showtime from Emmy nominee Alex Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout production company (The Mummy, Star Trek: Discovery) and writer Ben Jacoby (Newsflash, Flash Boys), according to Deadline. The series centers on the “epic, years-long battle between Al Capone and Eliot Ness, who clashed on the biggest stage in the world on their way to becoming ultimate American enemies.”
Al Capone and Eliot Ness’s story has been told onscreen many times, but arguably most memorably in director Brian De Palma’s 1987 crime drama The Untouchables, starring Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness and Robert De Niro as Al Capone. The film earned Sean Connery an Oscar in 1988 for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
The project will dive into prohibition-era politics, industrialization, mass media, the immigrant experience, law enforcement, and the birth of organized crime. The project will span from the 1920s into the Great Depression, from South Side slums all the way up to the White House, showing how Al Capone corporatized crime on a level never before imagined as Eliot Ness, one of the most revolutionary cops in American history, fought an uphill battle to reform law enforcement, a battle that continues to this day.
The nonfiction book, fully titled Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago, was optioned by Secret Hideout after being published in 2018 by HarperCollins. The book chronicles the lives of gangster Al Capone and his lawman nemesis, Eliot Ness, in Prohibition Era-Chicago, drawing upon “decades of primary source research–including the personal papers of Ness and his associates, newly released federal files, and long-forgotten crime magazines containing interviews with the gangsters and G-men themselves.”
Executive producers include Jacoby and Secret Hideout’s Kurtzmann, Kadin, and Aaron Baiers. Alan Gasmer, Bob Bookman, Peter Jaysen, and Bill Nuss will produce.