Former showrunner of "The Walking Dead" Frank Darabont's experience in transitioning from film to television has had its share of missteps, but none quite so odd for his upcoming TNT series.
Adapted from John Buntin's 2010 book "L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City," Darabont's forthcoming series appropriately enough was working under the title "L.A. Noir". However, Rockstar Games took umbrage with the similarity to the title of their 2011 video game "L.A. Noire," and have forced the network to change its title to avoid potential legal trouble.
“It was going to be called 'L.A. Noir', based on the book by John Buntin. But the video game company with the video game called 'L.A. Noire' (with an e!) threatened to sue the s**t out of me, TNT, every company that actually ever worked in Hollywood. And they have the billions of dollars to back it up, apparently. So we're changing the title, and I do believe the title is going to be 'Lost Angels'," explained Darabont in an interview with io9.
The director is in far better spirits with his promising cast in the 1940s crime serial, which will include former "Walking Dead" cast members John Bernthal and Jeffrey DeMunn, as well as Jeremy Strong ("The Happening"), Neal McDonough ("Captain America"), Milo Ventimiglia ("Heroes"), Ron Rifkin ("L.A. Confidential"), and Pihla Viitala ("Tears of April"). Darabont points to Bernthal in particular as a perfect fit for the series, saying "He projects this effortless masculine quality, which we don't have a lot of in movies anymore. He's definitely a throwback. He reminds me of, if you were to genetically mix John Garfield a young Charles Bronson this is the guy he's playing on screen. And it's not an effort for him, he projects this fantastic testosterone without showboating it..."
Additionally, the "Lost Angels" pilot features a guest appearance from "Shaun of the Dead"'s Simon Pegg in a rare dramatic role. "Simon Pegg, whom I adore, came and played a role for me in this pilot as an American. He plays a stand up comic in 1947. It's not a funny role. It's a serious role. He's laying down a dramatic performance in a flawless, American dialect of the era," the director said. "People who are Simon Pegg fans will be blown away by what he has done in this. I am his friend, and I've always known he's a very good dramatic actor and I expected great things from him, even my expectations were knocked on my ass by how good he is. So, you have that to look forward to."
Regardless of its title, "L.A. Noir"/"Lost Angels" holds a lot of promise as a show to watch out for.