‘Brother’ producers to ramp up crime drama series ‘The Count’ this fall

Excited by the accolades and enthusiastic receptions of their films world premiering at the Toronto festival, “Brother” producers Damon D’Oliveira and Clement Virgo, “Black Ice” producer Vinay Virmani and “Alice, Darling “Noah Segal are readying a new basketball-themed detective series, ‘The Count,’ for this fall’s market, Variety has learned.

A modern take on French author Alexandre Dumas’ classic 19th-century novel about wrongful imprisonment “The Count of Monte Cristo,” the TV drama will bounce between Toronto’s basketball milieu and Haiti’s cultural mix as that it follows the transformation from a Haitian basketball player facing a life sentence for murder to a saboteur seeking justice.

D’Oliveira and Virgo under their company Conquering Lion Pictures, The Good Karma Company chief content officer Virmani and Elevation Pictures co-president Segal signed on as executive producers for the series.

Virgo, who wrote and directed the movie “Brother” starring Lamar Johnson, and Hubert Davis, director of the tell-all hockey documentary “Black Ice,” are set to direct “The Count,” which begins pre-production in 2023.

Virgo’s “Brother” is his adaptation of David Chariandy’s award-winning novel, which explores manhood, ambition, family love and loss in a Scarborough housing complex. Virgo’s extensive TV credits include series adaptation of Lawrence Hill’s novel “The Book of Negroes” (CBC, BET) and episodes of “Billions” and “Empire.” He and D’Oliveira are developing an adaptation of Esi Edugyan’s jazz-themed novel “Half-Blood Blues” with CBC through their company.

“I’m thrilled to be working on the adaptation of this literary masterpiece,” said Virgo, who signed with WME earlier this month. “Adapting ‘The Count’ to a contemporary setting opens up the classic story to a whole new generation.”

“Crime thrillers, like basketball, are popular all over the world,” commented executive producers D’Oliveira, Segal and Virmani. “This explosive combo will play well for audiences young and old.”

Elevation’s Segal added that he and his fellow executive producers confirmed their commitment to “The Count” this week, and that their recent successes in Toronto convinced them to speed up the process: “We look forward to bringing this series to buyers this fall.”

Elevation Pictures is a leading Canadian distribution and production company. Recent projects include Anna Kendrick’s ‘Alice, Darling’, which was filmed in Ontario, and Brandon Cronenberg’s ‘Infinity Pool’.