"Coffin Point," the true-crime book inspired by a real-life Hoodoo-practicing sheriff in Beaufort County, South Carolina, written by area raconteur, shit-stirrer, and, oh right, City Paper Managing Editor Baynard Woods, is set to be turned into a one-hour TV series by Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment.
Deadline.com first reported the deal, much to the chagrin of Woods' editors.
The story revolves around Ed McTeer, the county sheriff who served as the county's top cop from 1926-1963. After fighting off rum-runners and dealing with voodoo-inspired murders, McTeer, a white man, claimed to be "last remaining tie to the true African Witchcraft" in the largely African-American county, according to a plot description on Amazon.com, where you can purchase a hardcover copy of the book for the low, low price of $19.56 or an e-book on Woods' site for $10 (and we advise that you do, though we admit to not having read it).
The typically verbose Woods, reached for comment via intra-office messaging software Slack, despite sitting just beyond this reporter's cubicle wall, had the elusiveness of a PR flack when it came to details.
"We've spent the last year writing the Bible and narrowing the show down," he wrote. "The book focused on his entire life, whereas the show has a much narrower focus."
To that end, executive producer Kevin Abrams, of Alpine Labs, elaborated on the show's intention to focus on Gullah culture famous in the south.
"There have been very few films or TV shows that have dealt with the Gullah and what they've given to the United States culturally," Abrams told Deadline. "Gospel music came out of their musical history, Blues came out of their musical history, a lot of incredible cuisine came out of their cultural history. For us, it's going to be a really great honor to explore this culture and showing it as being a real thing."
Woods also told us: "I was actively involved in the process of developing the book as a television story and would like to continue my involvement."
It's not yet clear how this will affect Woods' work here at City Paper, but inside sources speculate his involvement—and/or the surrealness of seeing his own work adapted for the screen—will make for great fodder in his navel-gazing column on arts and culture, Conflicts of Interest.
The series is currently being shopped to networks and online streaming sites, according to Deadline.