John Singleton is heading to HBO.
The Oscar-nominated Boyz n the Hood writer-director-producer is developing drama “Club Life: Miami” with hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons at HBO.
“Club Life: Miami” is set against the South Beach club scene and follows a reformed criminal who moves to Miami and gains a new lease on life as he embraces the vibrant, youthful and transgressive world. Singleton will write and executive produce the project. Simmons — the Def Jam co-founder, music mogul and social activist — is on board to executive produce “Club Life” via his overall deal with the premium cable network.
The sale marks the second for Simmons at HBO; he most recently set up an untitled drama from “12 Years a Slave’s” Steve McQueen and “World War Z” scribe Matthew Michael Carnahan about a young African-American man with a mysterious past as he experiences life in New York high society.
Along with producer Rick Rubin, Simmons helped create Def Jam Recordings in 1984 and soon established the imprint as a major force in hip-hop music. Simmons used Def Jam as a platform for the early recordings of artists like LL Cool J, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy.
As Def Jam merged with Island Records under Universal Music Group to form the Island Def Jam Music Group in the 90s, the label contributed to hip-hop culture with music by Nas, Kanye West and Jay Z and later had mainstream hits with the likes of Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey and the Killers.
Singleton is best known for Boyz n the Hood, for which he earned Academy Award nominations for directing and the original screenplay. His credits include Shaft, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Baby Boy and Four Brothers. He’s repped by WME, Trevor Engelson at Underground and Steve Barnes. Simmons, who inked his HBO pact in May, is repped by CAA.
“Club Life” comes as premium cabler Starz is readying Power, a New York-set nightclub drama series from executive producer 50 Cent that will premiere in 2014.