Courtesy of Penguin Random House
Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins will be sleuthing his way back to the screen. Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television has closed a deal to develop and produce a television series adapted from Walter Mosley’s bestselling gritty historical fiction mystery series starring Rawlins, one of literature’s most popular Black investigators.
The drama, based on Mosley’s fifteen novels and collection of short stories centered on the WWII army veteran turned hard-boiled private eye, will be set in 1950’s Los Angeles. Per the logline, the show will honor the great traditions of storytelling in the detective genre, while also exploring the racial inequities and social injustice experienced by BIPOC and other non-white people.
“Stomp the Yard” and “The Losers” director Sylvain White is attached to executive produce the Easy Rawlins series and is also set to direct the pilot episode. Amblin Television co-presidents Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (“The Americans, “Haunting of Bly Manor”) will also executive produce with Mosley, his producing partner Diane Houslin for their company B.O.B FilmHouse, Inc., and “Resident Evil” producer Jeremy Bolt of JB Pictures. White worked with Amblin on “The Americans.” Alex Maggioni, senior VP of television, will oversee the development of the project for Amblin, alongside Frank and Falvey.
The last time Rawlins fans saw the P.I. off the pages and on the screen was Denzel Washington’s rendition of the protagonist in 1995 neo-noir crime thriller flick “Devil in a Blue Dress,” directed by Carl Franklin and shot by Tak Fujimoto. The movie also featured performances from Don Cheadle and Jennifer Beals; it is currently available to stream on Tubi.
Mosley has written more than 60 critically acclaimed books that have been translated in over 23 languages. His work has appeared in “The New York Times” and “The Nation,” among other publications. Mosley has been awarded an O. Henry Award, a Grammy, a PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award and The National Book Foundation’s 2020 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. His latest Easy Rawlins novel, Blood Grove,” was released on Feb. 2, 2021. Mosley also serves as an executive producer for FX’s “Snowfall.”
Amblin Television currently has various projects in stages of production and release, including “Resident Alien” for SYFY, “Animaniacs” for Hulu, “Roswell, New Mexico” for The CW, “Halo” for Showtime, “Masters of the Air” for Apple, “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai” and “Tiny Toons Looniversity” for HBO Max and an untitled “Goonies” project pilot for Fox.
White is represented by UTA, Artist First, and Jeff Endlich at Morris Yorn. Mosley is represented by CAA, Gloria Loomis, and Tom Selz.
Variety's Mónica Marie Zorrilla contributed to this post.