Perennial action film star Jason Statham is set to star in his first TV series. Although a network is not yet attached to the project, Viva La Madness is planned to be an hour-long drama series from Gaumont International Television. The show will be based on J.J. Connolly’s novel of the same name.
The book is actually a follow-up to Layer Cake, which was previously adapted into a 2004 film starring Daniel Craig. The sequel focuses on an anonymous antihero who is stranded in the Caribbean. He misses his criminal exploits back home, but as a wanted man, going back isn’t the best idea. Neither is getting involved with more gangsters, of course, but that’s what he ends up doing.
Viva La Madness was previously expected to be a feature film, as reported by Deadline in 2013, but it has since evolved into a series. Apparently, there was just too much material to try to limit the length. “The way J.J. writes is so on the ball and authentic, it’s hard to let any of it go,” said Statham, according to Variety. “Trying to lose characters or shave down scenes every other page didn’t work, we wanted it all. The best place was a 10-hour-plus show that lets you fully disappear into Connolly’s world.”
Like the book, the project is intended to be packed with wit and action, both of which Statham has a wealth of experience with. The British actor has regularly played badass characters in films like the Transporter trilogy, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and The Italian Job. More recently, he played the villain in the blockbuster Furious 7 and starred in Spy with Melissa McCarthy. Statham will next appear in Mechanic: Resurrection and will be back for more high-speed car chases and brutal fights in Furious 8.
In addition to starring in La Vida Madness, Statham will executive produce alongside Connolly. The author will write the series.
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