HBO begins production on ‘Deadwood’ movie

November 30, 2018

Nearly 13 years after its third season finished abruptly, HBO’s acclaimed drama “Deadwood” will get a proper ending.

One of the network’s most universally-praised shows, “Deadwood” followed the Dakota Territory mining camp of the same name as it coalesced gradually and violently into a town and -- more importantly -- into a community.

Now, a desire to give the show a worthy sendoff has coalesced into an HBO film which recently began production, according to Hollywood trade publications.

Showrunner David Milch wanted to show how societies and communities were built, and for three seasons he did so in unequaled fashion, crafting nuanced characters viewers cared for deeply, weaving in little bits of Wild West history (Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, the Earp Brothers) along the way and creating a superb, compelling frontier drama.

The show introduced a larger-than-life villain midway through its run in the person of industrialist and gold baron George Hearst (Gerald McRaney), who subtly terrorized the entire town before quietly making his exit at the end of season three.

Hearst’s departure, however, did little to bring any sort of meaningful conclusion to the series, which was canceled in 2006 when its actors’ options were not picked up.

That makes it all the more surprising that so many of them are willing to return more than a decade after the final episode aired.

According to HBO’s website, basically the entire main cast will return for the movie: Timothy Olyphant will be back as hotheaded Sheriff Seth Bullock, and Ian McShane will once again fill the foul-mouthed shoes of saloon owner Al Swearengen. Others returning include Molly Parker (House of Cards) as the widowed Alma Ellsworth; Paula Malcomson as prostitute Trixie; John Hawkes as Sol Starr; Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) as Mrs. Bullock; Dayton Callie (Sons of Anarchy) as Charlie Utter; Brad Dourif as Doc Cochran; Robin Weigert (Big Little Lies) as Calamity Jane Canary; William Sanderson as E.B. Farnum; Kim Dickens (Fear the Walking Dead) as Joanie Stubbs; and McRaney as George Hearst.

Even Milch -- who at the time of the show’s cancellation said he’d been offered a short, six-episode run to wrap things up and rejected it -- will return to write the movie’s script and serve as one of its executive producers.

As for what fans can expect. HBO sums up the film: “The movie ... follows the 10-year reunion of the camp to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.”

So if you’re among those who felt there was still plenty of story left to emanate from the walls of the Gem Saloon, raise a glass and utter a few anachronistic curses -- it’s time for one last stroll down the main thoroughfare.

The “Deadwood” film is set to premiere in 2019, according to HBO’s website.

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