Johnny Depp, Richard Branson link for drama

Actor Johnny Depp and businessman Richard Branson are attached to a drama based on awarding-winning documentary Muscle Shoals.

Depp’s prodco Infinitum Nihil, Branson-backed Virgin Produced and Georgia O’Keeffe producer City Entertainment are to coproduce the series set in the American South.

The original Muscle Shoals doc looked into the life of FAME Studios founder Rick Hall, who developed the ‘Muscle Shoals’ sound that defined songs such as Brown Sugar and When a Man Loves a Woman.

The drama will “explore the rich and vast milieu of the tumultuous and often poetically tragic segregated south through its colorful characters, rich cultural and political history and southern gothic settings”, according to the producers.

Greg Camalier, who directed and produced the doc, is attached to the drama as a producer.

“Greg’s film unearthed the poetic mysticism and inspired us to produce a series that utilises music and narrative in a unique and ground-breaking way,” said Jason Felts, who runs LA-based Virgin Produced as CEO alongside Branson and Justin Berfield.

“This provocative story about the rich region and pioneering artists that birthed the iconic ‘Muscle Shoals Sound’ fits in with Virgin’s music roots and provides an ideal opportunity to partner with Depp, Infinitum and City Entertainment.”

Infinitum Nihil president Christi Dembrowski said Muscle Shoals was ‘perfectly suited for Infinitum as it combines Johnny’s love of music and its history with our company’s creative mission to tell these stories”.

Virgin Produced was launched in 2010 as a TV and film producer, and has gone on to coproduce films such as Limitless and Movie 43, while Infinitum Nihil is behind The Rum Diary, Dark Shadows and Hugo, all of which were coproduced with GK Films. It is also developing Sound & Fury with Tom Fontana for CBS and Dreamland with Rob Cooper.