Mel Gibson to Direct ‘The Barbary Coast’ TV Series Starring Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell

     April 19, 2016


(Formerly?) scorned son of Hollywood Mel Gibson is making a slow and steady comeback, it would seem. Starting small with the Australian film Blood Father and upping the ante with the WWII drama Hacksaw Ridge (starring Andrew Garfield), Gibson is turning his sights now to TV. Continuing the trend of movie stars taking on TV roles (no longer a career taboo!), Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson are set to star in an adaptation of The Barbary Coast, which Gibson will direct and co-write.

According to Deadline, Gibson will also have a recurring role in the series, which is based on the Herbert Asbury book of the same name, about the early days of San Francisco. It’s also a family affair to have Hudson and her stepfather Russell working together.

the-barbary-coast-bookThere’s no word yet on who might pick up the project, as it’s still being shopped around, but producer Mark Gordon said of it,

Most people don’t know the scandalous history behind San Francisco, and The Barbary Coast offers a rich portrayal of a period when success was often attained through illicit and brutal means. I’m excited that Kurt and Kate are working together alongside Mel, whose astute direction will bring this devious time in our history to life.”

The synopsis for the book reads,

The history of the Barbary Coast properly begins with the gold rush to California in 1849. If the precious yellow metal hadn’t been discovered … the development of San Francisco’s underworld in all likelihood would have been indistinguishable from that of any other large American city. Instead, owing almost entirely to the influx of gold-seekers and the horde of gamblers, thieves, harlots, politicians, and other felonious parasites who battened upon them, there arose a unique criminal district that for almost seventy years was the scene of more viciousness and depravity, but which at the same time possessed more glamour, than any other area of vice and iniquity on the American continent. The Barbary Coast is Herbert Asbury’s classic chronicle of the birth of San Francisco—a violent explosion from which the infant city emerged full-grown and raging wild. From all over the world practitioners of every vice stampeded for the blood and money of the gold fields. Gambling dens ran all day including Sundays. From noon to noon houses of prostitution offered girls of every age and race. (In the 1850s, San Francisco was home to only one woman for every thirty men. It was not until 1910 that the sexes achieved anything close to parity in their populations.) This is the story of the banditry, opium bouts, tong wars, and corruption, from the eureka at Sutter’s Mill until the last bagnio closed its doors seventy years later.

It definitely sounds like a prestige product, and seems to be part of Gibson rehabilitating his image. But do you feel it’s deserved?


Image via Focus Features


Image via RLJ Entertainment