HBO is not having good luck with some of its highest profile projects lately. First, David Fincher’s two upcoming series, Video Synchronicity and Utopia were paused and being reworked because of script and budget issues, respectively. Now, the 6-part miniseries Lewis and Clark has also been halted due to production difficulties.
According to Deadline, the star-studded production (Casey Affleck and Matthias Schoenaerts are in the lead roles, with Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Gary Goetzman, Dede Gardner, Tim Kelly, and Adam Leizpig executive producing) has seen “internal and external, weather-related factors,” leading to a “rough shoot” so far.
That’s led HBO to make two major changes to the production, replacing director John Curran and director of photography Rob Hardy over “creative reasons” (were they trying to pull an Alejandro González Iñárritu and The Revenant and go for total, brutal authenticity?) HBO has not not named a new director, nor a date for a production restart as of yet.
The series was shaping up to be one of HBO’s most epic productions to date. The premium network has always produced excellent miniseries, and this story seems rich material for a stunning adaptation. As we learned back in January,
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.
Hopefully with some retooling, Lewis and Clark can get back on track. The two men’s journey is one of the most interesting and enduring legacies of early United States history, and I’m still excited for what this project might become, despite these early difficulties. This kind of drama so early on set does not bode well for things, but dammit, if the actual Lewis and Clark could get through their journey (thanks to the badass Sacagawea), HBO can get through this and deliver something legendary of their own.