History (formerly known as The History Channel) announced two high profile projects today. The first, The Hatfield and the McCoys, centers on the infamous 19th-century family feud. Kevin Costner will star as “Devil” Anse Hatfield and co-produce with Leslie Greif. The press release claims the 2012 premiere will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the feud, but I’m not sure how they determine the anniversary for a multidecade feud that was initiated 146 years ago. Brad Pitt, Robert Duvall, and Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper were linked to a separate Hatfield/McCoy movie over a year ago, with the caveat that it will happen “if and when Pitt decides to clear a place in his schedule.” I imagine the Costner project will dissuade Pitt from searching too hard for that hole.
Additionally, History is developing a docudrama series with producer Mark Burnett (Survivor). The network promises all the greatest hits: Noah’s Ark, the Exodus from Egypt, Daniel and the Lion’s Den, and of course, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The press release highlights the “state-of-the-art computer-generated imagery (CGI),” which is absolutely noteworthy in 2011. The 10-hour series will air in five parts in 2013.
Read the official announcement for both projects after the jump.
The Hatfields and the McCoys
HISTORY GREENLIGHTS PRODUCTION OF SCRIPTED MINISERIES ABOUT AMERICA’S MOST INFAMOUS FAMILY FEUD, THE HATFIELDS and McCOYS AN AMERICAN VENDETTA
ACADEMY® AWARD WINNER KEVIN COSTNER TO STAR AND CO-PRODUCE
New York, May 25, 2011 – HISTORY announced today that the network has green-lighted production of a new scripted miniseries, THE HATFIELDS AND THE McCOYS, to premiere on HISTORY in 2012, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of America’s most infamous family feud. Academy® Award winner Kevin Costner (The Untouchables, Field of Dreams, Dances with Wolves, The Bodyguard and Open Range) will star, playing the role “Devil” Anse Hatfield. The announcement was made by Nancy Dubuc, President & General Manager, HISTORY.
The miniseries, to be produced by Leslie Greif’s production company, Thinkfactory Media, and Kevin Costner as producing partner, will chronicle the bloody hostilities between two clans that escalated to the point of near war between two states.
“THE HATFIELDS & McCOYS is a classic tale of American history. These are names that are widely recognized, yet few people know the real story that made them famous. We are thrilled that Kevin Costner, one of the most iconic American actors of our time, will be starring as Devil,” Ms. Dubuc said. “At HISTORY, part of our legacy – and indeed one of the reasons we are enjoying such great success right now – is our ability to look at the many stories of history through a contemporary lens. Working with Leslie Greif, I am confident that HISTORY will reacquaint viewers of our generation with this fascinating and timeless saga of courage, sacrifice and family love amid insidious plots and endless intrigue.”
“THE HATFIELDS AND MCCOYS has been a passion project of mine for over 20 years, and it was realized the day I met Nancy Dubuc, she made a dream come true when she shared the same enthusiasm and vision for this epic American drama,” said Greif. “And then to be privileged and fortunate enough to have a superstar like Kevin Costner as “Devil” is beyond anything I could have imagined. And now thanks to HISTORY, this timeless and iconic tale will finally be told.”
Said Mr. Costner: “Everyone knows the legend of the Hatfields-McCoy feud, but few know the true story of what occurred to make the two families become mortal enemies. As an avid history fan, I am thrilled to join with Leslie Greif and HISTORY in this dramatic re-telling of a classic and timeless tale that is forever immersed in the folklore of our country.”
The Hatfield-McCoy saga begins with Devil Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy. Close friends and comrades during the Civil War, they returned to their neighboring homes — Hatfield in West Virginia, McCoy just across the Tug River border in Kentucky — to increasing tensions, misunderstandings and resentments that soon exploded into all-out warfare between the two families. As hostilities grew, friends, neighbors and outside forces joined the fight, bringing the two states to the brink of another Civil War.
Their story also includes: a tempestuous love affair between Hatfield’s son and McCoy’s daughter, which had disastrous consequences; the execution of McCoy’s three young sons in retaliation for the Rasputin-like murder of Hatfield’s beloved brother; a New Year’s Massacre of the McCoy clan and burning of their home, which also sparked international headlines; a public clash between state governors; and ultimately the involvement of the United States Supreme Court.
Leslie Greif’s experience in the feature and scripted TV series space includes creating, writing, directing and producing award-winning and critically acclaimed projects. Greif co-created and executive produced “Walker Texas Ranger.” TV movies include “Monday Night Mayhem,” starring John Turturro, “Word of Honor” starring Don Johnson, and “Baby for Sale” starring Dana Delaney. Greif also produced “Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool,” and the highly acclaimed and Emmy nominated film “Brando.” His feature film credits include “Funny Money,” “Keys To Tulsa,” “Heaven’s Prisoners,” and “Meet Wally Sparks.”
THE HATFIELDS & THE McCOYS is being produced for HISTORY by Thinkfactory Media. Leslie Greif will serve as an Executive Producer on the project with Herb Nanas and Darrell Fetty producing for Thinkfactory Media. Writer is Ted Mann (Deadwood, Emmy® winner NYPD Blue, Luck. Revisions by Ron Parker (Emmy winner for Broken Trail, Emmy nominated Joan of Arc). Executive Producers for HISTORY are Nancy Dubuc and Dirk Hoogstra.
Mark Burnett Presents . . . The Bible
HISTORY® ANNOUNCES THE BIBLE EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY MARK BURNETT
NEW YORK, May 24, 2011 – HISTORY has greenlit production on a new epic series, THE BIBLE, to be created by renowned producer Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, Shark Tank) The announcement was made by Nancy Dubuc, President & General Manager, HISTORY.
The five-part, 10-hour docudrama will air in 2013. The series will be shot on location and use state-of-the art visual effects.
“HISTORY has an incredible legacy delving into important subjects to which all people are connected,” said Ms. Dubuc. “There’s no question The Bible is one of the world’s most significant books. This series will bring the historical stories of The Bible to life for a new generation. We are thrilled to work with Mark, who is a rare breed in the business. He is an amazing storyteller, and on this project, has the ability to deliver what we hope will be the largest audience HISTORY has ever seen.”
Using up-to-the-minute production techniques, The Bible series promises to be landmark television programming, combining unforgettable stories with live action and state-of-the-art computer-generated imagery (CGI). From Genesis to Revelation, HISTORY will illuminate The Bible with revealing insights into the life and times of some of its most iconic characters. It will feature some of the most famous stories ever written, from Noah’s Ark and the Exodus to Daniel in the Lion’s Den to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The Bible continues to be the best-selling book in America every year and last year alone, more than 25 million copies were sold.
“The Bible is a sacred text that continues to challenge and inspire,” said Burnett. “We’ve been working on this project for the past two years and are deeply humbled to be given this once in a generation opportunity to breathe new visual life into The Bible’s profound stories. The Bible gives meaning and purpose to billions of people around the world, and sparks the curiosity of millions more.”
THE BIBLE series is being produced for HISTORY by Lightworkers Media and Hearst Entertainment & Syndication. Executive Producers are Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and Richard Bedser. Executive Producers for HISTORY are Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs.