Michael Bay Wants To Tell This Famous Cocaine Story

The men who brought you Bad Boys II are finally getting their day in the sun with the very drug that film seemed handmade to pair with. Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer have been trying to get a drama about the Miami cocaine trade in production since 2008, but that project is now finally starting to come together, as TNT has given the untitled drama an official pilot order. Have you ever seen a bag of coke explode?

Bay and Bruckheimer are teaming with CSI executive producer Jonathan Littman for a fictionalized semi-adaptation of Billy Corben’s 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys. (Corben will also executive produce.) The pilot won’t be directly using the people from the documentary, but will rather tell a similarly crime-filled story set during the massive Florida drug trade in the 1970s. The rapid rise in cocaine trafficking and the successive crime explosion will be at the heart of the story, though it isn’t clear from the press release how many characters will be involved. If they wanted to work out a deal to bring Paul Reubens in as Derek Foreal in a weird Blow crossover, I’d be fine with that.


The pilot order was a long time coming, but Turner’s recent shift in personnel kept their orders postponed. That said, the network’s recent push towards more quality scripted programming is what got this pilot in the door. To signify just how gritty it may be, consider Bay and Bruckheimer previously had it developed for HBO, first in 2008 and then again in 2011. Perhaps it wasn’t gritty enough for the premium cable network.

The last HBO incarnation was scripted by Masters of Sex creator Michelle Ashford, and it appears they’re sticking with her script for this pilot. Should it get picked up to series, it isn’t likely that she would return to the cocaine drama in any large capacity, but anything is possible.

This also isn’t the only Cocaine Cowboys adaptation in development. Also in 2008, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg were planning to reteam on a feature version, and though that version stalled out, Wahlberg and director Peter Berg are reportedly still attached in some capacity. Check out a redband trailer for the original doc below.

Though Bruckheimer has TV shows coming out of his ass, this is only Bay’s third foray into small screen drama, and his second for TNT. He’s also an executive producer on the apocalyptic action drama The Last Ship, which had solid enough ratings to get a second season set up for next year. It isn’t clear when this newly announced pilot will begin production, but I bet there’s an eight ball out there with an answer for you.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.