David Simon, the co-creator of HBO’s The Wire, is no stranger to hiring musicians as actors. Over the span of its five seasons, The Wire created sizable roles for artists in the hip-hop world (Method Man, Fredro Starr of Onyx) and in later seasons, dipped into the alt-country pot when they hired Steve Earle. In an interview with The Guardian, Simon explains that music plays an even more prominent role in his latest series, Treme, named after the neighborhood in New Orleans. Asked about the city’s historical importance, Simon explains, “The combination of African rhythms and the pentatonic scale and European instrumentation and arrangement … happened in a 12-square block area of a city called New Orleans that had a near-death experience in 2005.” Treme picks up after Katrina, exploring the city through the lives of the musicians affected.
So far, HBO has confirmed a list of cameos for the first season of Treme: Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Steve Earle, Kermit Ruffins, and Donald Harrison Jr., along with other prominent New Orleans musicians, are featured in early episodes. Here’s hoping that NOLA’s finest, Jay Electronica, might pull a Method Man and land a role. [The Guardian/HBO]