NBC has commissioned three Western scripts this year, and according to Deadline:
the network is so pleased with the results they may actually pick up more than
one. The most recent pilot order is from
Sony-TV, for THE FRONTIER, written by Shaun Cassidy, to be directed by Thomas
Schlamme. It’s the 1840s-set story of a
group of pioneers traveling from Hollywood Missouri to . And yes, the Shaun Cassidy involved is the
former Hardy Boy who has a very successful career as a TV writer and producer,
currently with BLUE BLOODS. California
As to the other two oaters on the NBC roster, one is RECONSTRUCTION, originally developed for FX, directed by Peter Horton and written by three-time Emmy winner Joshua Brand (NORTHERN EXPOSURE, A YEAR IN THE LIFE). Set in
after the Civil War, it’s the story
of a war vet who settles in a town where he is greeted as its savior. It stars Martin
Henderson (OFF THE MAP), Emma Bell and Rachel Lefevre. The other is the as-yet untitled western
script from Pete Berg and Liz Heldens, of FRIDAY
NIGHT LIGHTS fame Missouri
BBC-AMERICA EASTERN ‘COPPER’ ROLLS THIS MONTH IN
Casting has been announced for the first dramatic series produced by BBC America, which will roll camera in
later this month. Admittedly it’s not a Western, but it’s a
series of considerable historic interest.
COPPER is the story of a young Irish cop, Kevin Corcoran (a character,
not the Disney child star) in 19th Century Toronto , who is working to solve his
wife’s disappearance and his daughter’s murder.
His beat is the infamous, teeming immigrant
community of Five Points, the area brilliantly portrayed in Herbert Asbury’s
history, GANGS OF NEW YORK, later filmed by Martin Scorcese. New York City
Corcoran will be played by Tom Weston-Jones, recently of the long running MI-5 UK series. Irish actor Kevin Ryan plays Detective Francis Maguire, an Irish-American cop. Also in the very international cast are German-born Franka Potente, the title star of RUN LOLA RUN, and Marie in BOURNE IDENTITY and BOURNE SUPREMACY; English-born Anastasia Griffith of DAMAGES, ROYAL PAINS and currently ONCE UPON A TIME series; and Canadian-born BLOOD TIES star Kyle Schmid.
It’s co-created by Tom Fontana and Will Rokos.
won Emmys for writing HOMICIDE:
LIFE ON THE STREET and ST. ELSEWHERE, and recently wrote BORGIAS,
and Rokos was Oscar-nominated for writing MONSTERS BALL. The
series is exec-produced by Christina
Wayne, late of MAD MEN and BROKEN TRAIL, and Barry
Levinson who won his Oscar for directing RAIN MAN, and is currently
exec producing a Phil Spector biopic starring Al Pacino. COPPER is set to premiere this summer, for a
ten episode season. Fontana
FIRST UNOBSTRUCTED VIEW OF CONFEDERATE SUB HUNLEY!
A century and a half ago, during the Civil War, the Confederate Navy’s Hunley became the first submarine to succeed in battle when it sunk the Union blockade ship Housatonic off the coast of
Charleston, . The sub and it eight-man crew sunk as well, and
rested in its watery grave until it was located and raised twelve years ago. South Carolina
The bodies of the crew members were all found at their stations, and in 2004 they were buried in what is undoubtedly the last Confederate Military Funeral. For nearly a decade the Hunley has been on display in
North Charleston, at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center. It's received a reported half milllion visitors a year. The only problem has been that all of those visitors had to crane their necks to see it beneath a huge eight-ton truss that suspended the war-ship. On Thursday the truss was removed, finally offering visitors an unobstructed view. The immediate response from many is that, although much older, it looks very much like a submarine from the First or Second World War.
To learn more, and take a virtual tour, or take a real one, visit the Friends of the Hunley HERE.
TED MARKLAND, HIGH CHAPARRAL'S RENO, DIES
HIGH CHAPARRAL fans are mourning the loss of actor Ted Markland, who played Reno, one of the hands on the ranch, and who had more than eighty other screen credits, many of them Westerns. Tall and handsome in the saddle, wearing his trademark fringed buckskin jacket while riding through the hills around Old Tucson, he was a fan favorite. His popularity became a problem to CHAPARRAL costumers because so many wanted a piece of busckskin fringe as a souvenir.
“It drove them nuts,” Markland recalled. “I finally asked the head wardrobe guy to just give me a big long piece of the fringe, so I could cut off pieces to give to the fans.”
Surprisingly, producer David Dortort, who used Markland not only in CHAPARRAL but in RESTLESS GUN and BONANZA, discovered Ted not acting, but doing stand-up. And his material was so stream-of-consciousness and edgy that he was managed by Lenny Bruce!
Many fans would be surprised to learn that Ted had a very mystical/metaphysical side, was involved with peyote, and was a friend of Dr. Timothy Leary. Ted married during the filming of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, and Jack Nicholson was his best man. He was a friend of the EASY RIDER triumvirate – Nicholson, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper – and it’s said that the Nicholson character’s rant about UFOs came from one of Ted’s peyote-induced visions.
A member of the Walter Hill stock company, he appeared in ANOTHER 48 HOURS, WILD BILL and THE LAST MAN STANDING. Toward the end of his life, he set great value in his relationships with his fans, especially of HIGH CHAPARRAL. “You wouldn’t believe all the cards I get from fans, it’s wonderful. I go to every show I can. Seeing people, talking to people, it’s important.”
Penny McQueen, editor of The High Chaparral Newsletter, who was hugely helpful in the preparation of this article, remembers, “Ted was genuinely appreciative of each fan and always eager to talk to people. Because he'd lived through such varied times he was interesting to talk with, and always enjoyed discussing his mind-expanding spiritual experiences. His crazy sense of humor was like no one else, I never knew what he might say. The world has lost someone with a unique way of thinking.” Today, Sunday, January 15th, would have been his 79th birthday.
THIS WEEK’S WESTERN BIRTHDAYS OF NOTE
New Years Day marks the 83rd birthday of TV’s Bronco Layne, Ty Hardin. You can read the interview he gave the Round-up – part one HERE, part two HERE.
Lee Van Cleef was born on January 9th, 1925, and until the sharp-eyed, hawk-nosed actor gave up his first career, he was undoubtedly the scariest CPA in
(with the possible exception of Jack Elam).
After his first screen appearance in HIGH NOON, he became a familiar
visage in big and small-screen westerns and gangster stories, but he didn’t
become a star right away. He told
interviewers that when Sergio Leone called in 1964, about a part in FOR A FEW
DOLLARS MORE, he was days from having his phone shut off for lack of
payment! It was Spaghetti and American
Western stardom from then on. America
A.B. Guthrie with daughter Gus Miller
It’s a 35MM print, and it screens at 1:30 p.m.Jeffrey Richardson, Gamble Curator of Western History, Popular Culture & Firearms, on the film’s history and its place within the Western genre.