Bumpy Johnson’s rise to power will be detailed in a new television series. Forest Whitaker has signed on to executive produce the show.
As the brainchild of Narcos co-creators Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein, the project will chronicle the gangster’s infamous war with the Genovese crime family to reclaim his former drug territory of Harlem.
Paul Sorvino, most known for his iconic role in Goodfellas, is slotted to play Frank Costello, an unofficial arbitrator for the Italian mob. Deadline reports that Whitaker will play Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson and the pair will seemingly share a lot of on air time together as Johnson saved Costello’s life in prison years prior. The story line will also capture how Bumpy befriended Malcolm X during his fight for social equality during the 1960’s.
According to IMBD this will serve as a prequel to the 2007 film American Gangster which focused on Frank Lucas, the right hand man to Johnson, as as he became Harlem’s biggest narcotics trafficker. Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, Gregory Cioffi and Vincent D’Onofrio have also been confirmed as part of the cast.
The straight-to-series crime drama will air on Epix and is scheduled for a 2019 debut.