Stephen Gaghan to Direct ‘White City’ Pilot for AMC

The geopolitical drama will focus on Western diplomats and journalists living in Afghanistan

Oscar-winning writer and producer Stephen Gaghan will direct the pilot of AMC’s “White City,” the network announced Friday.

The potential series is a geopolitical drama following Western diplomats and journalists living in Afghanistan. The show focuses on Jon Liston, a war junkie who has spent the better part of the last decade in Kabul with a front-row seat to the carnage. Gaghan will also serve as an EP on the show.

In the pilot, against the advice of everyone from American embassy staffers to tweeting tribal leaders to the French journalist he’s in a relationship with, Jon overreaches in an attempt to talk with insurgent leaders. He then must find a new role in Kabul as he attempts to address his guilt, frustration and doubts about whether there is good left for him or any Westerner to do in Afghanistan.

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“Nick and John were actually staying at my house, fresh out of Kabul, when they were going around pitching the show,” Gaghan said of showrunners Nick McDonnell and John Dempsey. “They then went on to write a truly astonishing script. Which got the attention of another old pal, Chris Mundy. It reminds me of Altman’s ‘Mash’ or a great Hal Ashby script. But really, let’s face it, if Coppola was doing ‘Apocalypse Now’ today, it would be an AMC series.”

Gaghan won the Oscar in 2001 for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Traffic.” He is repped by CAA.