Netflix Is Making a ‘Chinatown’ Prequel With Robert Towne and David Fincher

No Nicholson or Polanski for this proposed neo-noir series

An iconic scene from the original 'Chinatown'
Paramount Pictures/Getty Images
By Kirk Miller / November 19, 2019 11:09 am

Looks like we’re not gonna forget it, Jake.

Chinatown, one of the most iconic and best-scripted movies ever produced, is getting a prequel. According to Deadline, Netflix has closed a deal with original screenwriter Robert Towne for a pilot script for a series that would focus on the early days of private investigator Jake Gittes, originally played by Jack Nicholson in the 1974 film.

Although nobody asked for a prequel to the neo-noir classic — a fictional mystery that used the real-life happenings of the California water wars as its backdrop — the pedigree behind the proposed new show is ideal. Towne won a Best Screenplay Oscar for his work on the original, and genre/streaming vet David Fincher (House of Cards, Mindhunter) will serve as producer and possibly director.

Related: Robert Evans, Legendary Paramount Producer, Dies at 89

The original Chinatown was directed by Roman Polanski (in his final film shot on U.S. soil) and produced by the late Robert Evans. A forgettable and troubled sequel, the Nicholson-directed The Two Jakes, followed in 1990.

Below reminder (or spoiler alert) on the original’s disturbing ending.

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