- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Author Greg Iles’ book “Natchez Burning” is moving closer to becoming a television series, with Amazon Studios announcing that it’s considering production.

Spokesman George Cabico said Wednesday the arm of online shopping giant Amazon.com has commissioned scripts for two episodes, and then will decide whether to start production for its video streaming service.

Later this month, Iles will release “The Bone Tree,” a book following “Natchez Burning,” and he is working on a third. He said he’s hopeful the series will be shot in Natchez and surrounding parts of Mississippi and Louisiana, with a separate season for each book in the trilogy. The first book, published last year to positive reviews, is a fictional exploration of white supremacist violence in and around Iles’ hometown during the 1960s.

“If the show is green-lit, the present plan is to shoot on location here, to get the authenticity that ‘True Detective’ got in south Louisiana and ‘Friday Night Lights’ got in Texas,” Iles wrote in an email.

Mississippi enacted beefed-up tax credits for video production in 2009, and has attracted some productions since then, but hasn’t been as successful as Louisiana in building a movie and television industry.

Mississippi Film Office Director Ward Emling said the state is trying to assure producers that “Mississippi is the best and only place for their production.”

“We’ve been aware of the film and television interest in Greg’s trilogy of novels that began with ‘Natchez Burning,’” Emling said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor and support the project as it moves forward.”

Iles said he would co-produce the series along with actor Tobey Maguire, and David Hudgins would write. Hudgins has written for series including “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood.” Maguire’s company Material and Sony Pictures Television are also involved, according to Deadline.com, which first reported the news Wednesday.

“I’d loved the authenticity of ‘Friday Night Lights,’ where David was co-showrunner,” Iles wrote on his website. “It was plain from the first that Tobey had read the book and completely got it. It means so much to have smart veterans behind the wheel on a production as ambitious as this one.”

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Follow Jeff Amy at: https://twitter.com/jeffamy

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