Need proof of how quickly time flies? Consider this: HBO's The Wire ended eight years ago this month.
Crazy, right? It's understandable to think that the game-changing, Baltimore-set crime drama series concluded its historic run more recently. In the years since, critics haven't stopped praising it and its talent have continued to both thrive in Hollywood and continually remind folks about their Wire-based origins. Idris "Stringer Bell" Elba, for one, is currently one of the most beloved actors in the world, while Michael Kenneth "Omar Little" Williams has arguably been the best actor on television for the past fix years, delivering consistently excellent work on the cable network's underrated, period-specific crime series Boardwalk Empire and the new SundanceTV show Hap and Leonard. And David Simon, The Wire's creator and overseer, regularly blesses HBO with brilliant new content, such as last year's miniseries Show Me a Hero, anchored by the ubiquitous Oscar Isaac's best performance of 2016.
This summer, another veteran of The Wire will return to HBO: Richard Price, the acclaimed, Bronx-born crime novelist (Clockers, Freedomland, Lush Life) who penned five episodes as part of Simon's murderer's row of writers. Price will bring his standard caliber of gritty characterization and meticulously researched knowledge of the criminal justice system to The Night Of, HBO's new eight-part miniseries that's executive-produced, as well as principally directed, by Oscar-winner Steve Zaillian (who wrote Schindler's List, Gangs of New York, and American Gangster). The first two episodes are set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, April 22, at 3:00 p.m., via the Festival's brand-new Tribeca Tune In program; Steve Zaillian, Richard Price, John Turturro, and Riz Ahmed will take part in a post-screening conversation at the School of Visual Arts, or SVA.
Written by Price and Zaillian, The Night Of stars John Turturro as Jack Stone, a lawyer in NYC who's tasked with a difficult new case: defending Nasir Khan (played by Nightcrawler breakout Riz Ahmed), a young Pakistani man who's been accused of murdering a woman on the Upper West Side. For Turturro, The Night Of is his long-deserved moment in the small-screen spotlight; took over for Robert De Niro when the TFF co-founder had to exit the project due to scheduling conflicts in 2013. Having been one of the film world's best character actors for years, he's exactly the kind of under-appreciated screen presence that television benefits the most; think Bobby Cannavale on HBO's Vinyl, Kerry Washington before Scandal, and Bryan Cranston pre-Breaking Bad. And for Ahmed, The Night Of is a prime set-up for his starring role in the next Star Wars flick, the ambitious spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, opening on December 16.
A quick piece of trivia: Before his passing in June 2013, James Gandolfini was attached to play the character now inhabited by Turturro. Then titled Criminal Justice, it was a big passion project of Gandolfini's, which makes his current "executive producer" credit on The Night Of all the more impactful. Not to mention, it gives The Night Of's pedigree heavy doses of both The Wire and The Sopranos, a.k.a. the two greatest original series in HBO's history.
See why The Night Of should be one of any Tribeca 2016 attendee's top priorities? Reminder: Tickets for the Tribeca Film Festival, taking place April 13-24, go on sale March 29. Mark your calendars, because, as previously mentioned, time flies. Watch the trailer below.
Click here for the full Tribeca Tune In lineup.