David Simon’s next television project, the 6-part mini-series, Show Me a Hero, sounds exactly like something that David Simon would make. Based on the nonfiction book by Lisa Belkin, Show Me a Hero centers on the young mayor of a mid-sized American city who is faced with “a federal court order that says he must build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of his town. His attempt to do so tears the whole city apart, paralyzes the entire municipal government and, ultimately, destroys the mayor and his political future. “
Simon’s projects get ever-closer to what I can only imagine is his ultimate goal: A television series about a zoning committee. And while I’d argue that Simon could make even that interesting, I saw Treme (or at least two seasons of it), and I’m not so sure. Everyone sidewalk renovation would turn into a sermonizing, self-indulgent treatise on the problems with contemporary America. With jazz.
Still, the idea here sounds terrific, and once you see the cast, you’re going to drool all over your damn self.
Oscar Isaac — Iscar will play Nick Wasicsko, the young mayor and the lead of the drama.
James Belushi — Angelo R. Martinelli, an affable old political hand and six-term Yonkers mayor who argued to comply with the judge’s order and lost his seat as a result.
Catherine Keener — Mary Dorman, an East Yonkers homeowner who comes to a remarkable realization during the battle over where to build low-income housing.
Winona Ryder — Vinni Restiano, the Yonkers councilwoman and confidante to Wasicsko who lost her seat after her housing vote, only to stage a comeback four years later and wins as City Council president.
Jon Bernthal — Michael H. Sussman, a hard-driving Harvard-trained lawyer who represented the NAACP when it joined the government’s anti-segregation case against Yonkers.
Alfred Molina — Henry J. “Hank” Spallone, a tough-talking former NYPD detective from the Bronx who became the demagogic voice of the housing opponents.
Michael Stahl-David — James Surdoval, the political consultant who helped guide Wasicsko’s political career and became the man to see in Yonkers as behind-the-scenes deal-maker.
Terry Kinney — Peter Smith, the Yonkers Housing Authority’s director who quietly and delicately waded through the political and bureaucratic morass to ensure that the public housing was built.