HBO is pretty much unrivaled when it comes to the miniseries game, and in the wake of other networks getting in on the “limited series” trend, HBO just dropped the mic. It was announced today that a 6-hour Lewis and Clark miniseries has been greenlit by HBO, with Casey Affleck and Matthias Schoenaerts (The Drop, Rust and Bone) set to star as the eponymous explorers. But that’s not all! This thing has a seriously stacked behind-the-scenes team. Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Gary Goetzman, Dede Gardner, Tim Kelly, and Adam Leizpig are among the venture’s executive producers, with Norton also set to pen the screenplay for the miniseries alongside Michelle Ashford (The Pacific) and John Curran (The Painted Veil), who will direct.
The miniseries is based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s book Undaunted Courage and will follow “the epic journey of the Corps of Discovery and its captains, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who traverse uncharted territory on a mission to deliver President Jefferson’s message of sovereignty as they search for his fabled all-water route to the Pacific.” The adaptation will focus not only on Lewis and Clark’s incredible achievements, “but also on the physical, spiritual and emotional toll the expedition takes on them.”
Affleck will play Lewis and Schoenaerts will play Clark, and filming is poised to begin this summer. Affleck is currently shooting the coast guard drama The Finest Hours and will next star in Kenneth Longergan’s drama Manchester-by-the-Sea, but Lewis and Clark will likely put him out of commission for at least the rest of the year. Before the miniseries, Schoenaerts is gearing up to star in The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper’s next film, The Danish Girl.
I’m highly enthused by today’s news, as Lewis and Clark is shaping up to be the biggest and most prestigious HBO miniseries since The Pacific, which was Hanks and Steven Spielberg’s follow-up to the incredible Band of Brothers. Affleck and Schoenaerts are both swell talents, so it’ll be interesting to see who Curran enlists to fill out the ensemble. With filming starting this summer, I imagine a debut on HBO sometime in the latter half of 2016 is likely.