According to Deadline, HBO has greenlit a new hour-long dramedy from Alan Ball with a very familiar theme: death. Ball, who won an Oscar for writing American Beauty, and created the mortuary series Six Feet Under and the southern-fried guilty pleasure True Blood (which just picked up an Emmy nomination yesterday for Best Drama), will produce and direct the pilot for All Signs Of Death. The show is based on Charlie Huston's "crime noir" novel The Mystic Arts Of Erasing All Signs Of Death; according to the report, Charlaine Harris (author of The Southern Vampire Mysteries book series upon which True Blood is based), gave Ball a box of books which included Huston’s Caught Stealing, and Ball became such a fan of Huston’s "Hank Thompson" trilogy as well as his "Joe Pitt" book series that he took a meeting with Huston, and the two soon became friends. Seeking advice, Huston asked Ball whether The Mystic Arts would make a good television series, as he was planning to pitch it to a network. Ball clearly thought so.
The series will center on a twentysomething slacker who embarks upon a new line of work as a crime scene cleaner, and becomes entangled along the way in a murder-mystery where he crosses paths with a femme fatale and must come to terms with both his past and the direction of his future. Ball says in the report, “It's not so much about the crime. It’s about the personal story of the central character. and his journey back to being fully connected with his life after some very traumatic things.” More than likely, it will also be about a lot of sex and nudity.
Ball reports he's planning on experimenting with handheld cameras to give the show a "cinema verite" look: “We’re going to try to go against the grain, away from the overlit, stylized noir for a more frantic, contemporary, naturalistic style.” The project is currently casting, with eye on shooting this August in Los Angeles.