LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Actor Steve Buscemi is in talks to star as a powerful racketeer in “Boardwalk Empire,” Martin Scorsese’s period drama pilot for HBO.
Also in talks, for a costarring role in the project, is Kelly Macdonald.
Written by Terrence Winter and to be directed by Scorsese, “Empire” is based on Nelson Johnson’s nonfiction book, which chronicles the 1920s origins of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Buscemi would play Nucky Johnson, a cunning businessman who runs a liquor distribution ring at the onset of Prohibition.
Scottish-born Macdonald would play Margaret, a smart Irish immigrant who married the wrong man to get out of her parents’ house.
“Empire” is executive produced by Scorsese, his “Departed” star Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Winter.
The pilot reunites Buscemi with HBO after his stint on the pay cable network’s mob drama “The Sopranos,” which earned him Emmy nominations for directing in 2001 and acting in 2004.
He landed another Emmy nomination this year for his guest appearance on the NBC comedy “30 Rock.”
Buscemi’s upcoming features include Miguel Arteta’s comedy-drama “Youth in Revolt” and “Rage,” by British filmmaker Sally Potter.
Macdonald is another familiar face at HBO. She won an Emmy for her role in the HBO/BBC movie “The Girl at the Cafe.”