EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Photographs has set Chap Taylor to script a drama inspired by the 1962 John Ford-directed Western classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which starred John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Lee Marvin. In the original, Stewart played an idealistic lawyer who tries to bring the rule of law to a lawless frontier town. Marvin played Valance, an outlaw headed for a showdown just after the lawyer stands up to him. Wayne played a gunslinger who tries to teach the lawyer to defend himself.


Courtesy Chap Taylor

The version that Taylor is writing follows the essentials of that story but is set in New York City in 1991, at the height of the crack cocaine scourge when the murder price in the city soared to unprecedented levels. A young college-educated black policeman volunteers to be stationed in Harlem to make items safer. He’s teamed with a veteran Irish-American cop who, Taylor mentioned, “has the ideal of intentions and not the ideal of procedures. It becomes about the sacrifices that had to be produced to get from exactly where they had been then to exactly where we are now.”

Taylor mentioned the inspiration was time he spent in NYC then to go to NYU Film College and when he worked as bouncer and bartender in Greenwich Village and got a closeup view of a meanness in the city.

“It was the height of the crack war and when organized crime was breaking down and its manage more than the heroin trade left everybody fighting for their corner,” he mentioned. “The selection was to crack adequate skulls that they stopped or to engage in neighborhood policing to make items safer for the persons who lived there, who wanted to be identified to the police as far more than prospective suspects. There had been nicely-which means cops, but it was also the era of the Dirty Thirty scandal at a Harlem precinct property, which produced it like the Wild West with some outlaw cops and street violence and corruption. It appears a lengthy time ago. New York is safer and far more prosperous, but it has lost some character and the operating class can no longer afford to reside there. The film was set in that moment when a lot of of these items had been confronted.”


Matt Jackson is generating. Taylor’s screen credits consist of Altering Lanes, and he was consulting producer on the NBC drama The Blacklist. He’s writing the Kevin Williamson-created Cliff Residence at Miramax, which he describes as a contemporary take on classic feminist noir like the Jane Fonda pic The Morning Soon after.

Taylor is repped by UTA.