Starz announced today that the company will develop the one-hour drama GRINGO. The project, inspired by "The Shadow Catcher," the non-fiction book by highly decorated U.S. Immigration Officer Hipolito Acosta, will chronicle a Mexican-American Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent who infiltrates one of Mexico's most deadly drug and human smuggling cartels.
GRINGO is written by SPARTACUS franchise alums Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing and Executive Produced by Steve Lee Jones (You Don't Know Jack) of Bee Holder Productions.
"GRINGO provides a thrilling and uniquely personal look into international organized crime, never seen by the American public, from the viewpoint of a federal undercover agent on the front lines," said Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director of Starz. "We are excited to work with this team to develop GRINGO into what we think could make for incredibly compelling television."
Steve Lee Jones recently founded Bee Holder Production's TV Division. The company's credits include the award winning film, You Don't Know Jack, and they are currently developing several projects including Delorean, a miniseries with writer Adam Mazer; the television series RUBE, about the godfather of the porn industry, Reuben Sturman; BEING REICH, based on the thriller by Christopher Reich and reality skein GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION with Court TV reporter Beth Karas slated to host.
Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing's credits include SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE DAMNED, SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA, SMALLVILLE and THE MOB DOCTOR. They also co-wrote the first season of MORTAL KOMBAT: LEGACY, as well as the Emmy-nominated live-action series HALO 4: FORWARD UNTO DAWN. They are currently Supervising Producers on BLACK SAILS, premiering on Starz in January 2014.
Hipolito Acosta, who wrote "The Shadow Catcher" with Lisa Pulitzer and will consult on the project, is an expert on immigration laws, regulations, policy and procedures, and has conducted extensive undercover enforcement operations domestic ally and abroad. He was the District Director of I&NS at the U.S. Embassy, Mexico City in charge of all I&NS operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.. Over the past 30 years, Hipolito has worked with and for agencies such as the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Services, U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, the American Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico, the American Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and most recently as the District Director under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Houston. He is one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the agency and has received recognition and awards from many federal, local and state law enforcement agencies as well as heads of foreign states for outstanding service in enforcement and immigration services. He is a frequent guest commentator and analyst on a number of national and regional news programs.
The Helbing brothers are represented by CAA. Acosta is represented by The B.G. Dilworth Agency, Inc and Amy Schiffman of Intellectual Property Group.