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First look at Scorsese drama

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HBO has already given us modern Mob masterpiece The Sopranos — not to mention a DVD cabinet groaning with box sets — but the quality US hit factory isn’t done with gangsters yet. Its latest examination of the criminal underbelly of the US is about to land in the shape of prohibition-era epic Boardwalk Empire, which stars Steve Buscemi (pictured main).

Two years and more than £40m in the making, the 13-episode first series has been created by Sopranos writer Terence Winter, and — in his first TV drama work — Martin Scorsese directs episode one.

Set in 1920, Boardwalk Empire follows the shady fortunes of Atlantic City fixer Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson (based on real-life town treasurer Enoch Johnson, and played by Buscemi) while looking at how prohibition opened the floodgates to corruption, organised crime and a tsunami of bootlegged booze.

Buscemi’s joined by Michael K Williams (aka Omar from The Wire) and This Is England’s Stephen Graham (right, inset), who plays Al Capone. They’ve used every cent of the budget too, hiring more than 150 extras and even building a 300ft replica boardwalk to make the main set (check the cool time-lapse clip below along with the stupidly brilliant trailer).

Everything points to a future classic, which — overstuffed DVD cupboard aside — sounds good to us.

Boardwalk Empire will air on Sky in early 2011

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