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Dark Winds Wins Wrangler

April 16, 2023 at 9:31 am
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The Wrangler Awards have been presented annually since 1961 by the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, to honor individuals who “have made significant contributions to Western heritage through creative works in literature, music, television and film that share the great stories of the American West.”

This year’s awards were presented April 14-15.   I’m very pleased to report that “Monster Slayer,” episode one of the first season of DARK WINDS on AMC, was honored as best Fictional Television Drama.

https://nationalcowboymuseum.org/collections/awards/wha/monster-slayer-dark-winds/

The episode was scripted by Graham Roland and directed by Chris Eyre, based on Tony Hillerman’s classic Joe Leaphorn/ Jim Chee detective novels (LISTENING WOMAN and PEOPLE OF DARKNESS were the main sources for our first season).  Chris and Graham were among the Executive Producers for the season as well, along with Robert Redford, Tina Elmo, Vince Gerardis, Anne Hillerman, Wayne Morris, Vince Calandra, Zahn McClarnon (who also starred as Joe Leaphorn), and… yes, yours truly.

(Does this mean I need to start wearing my cowboy hats instead of Greek fisherman caps?)

Tony Hillerman was a friend, an amazing author, and a giant in the mystery genre.  In Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee he created two iconic characters,  and his books introduced millions of readers to the wonders of Navajo Country and the American Southwest.  It was a great honor for me to have played a small part in helping to bring his stories to television.   To see them so well done, and so well received, is hugely satisfying.   I like to think that Tony would have been pleased as well.   Zahn and Jessica and Kiowa and the rest of our cast have done such an amazing job, and Chris Eyre (who directed four of the six episodes) is one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with.

The first season on DARK WINDS ran last June on AMC.  If you missed it… hey, check it out, you can still catch it streaming on AMC+.

Our second season, filmed here in New Mexico at Camel Rock Studios, and on the Navajo reservation, wrapped last month and is now in post.   No date has been set yet for the season two debut, but we’re thinking June or July are most likely.

And that’s just the start.  Tony wrote eighteen Leaphorn and Chee novels, and his daughter Anne has continued the series, penning eight more books since Tony’s passing.   I’d love nothing better than to adapt all of them.

This, That, T’other Thing

February 19, 2023 at 8:53 am
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Lots of things going on, hard to keep up, let alone blog about it all.

Let’s see… well, big news, we wrapped filming on the second season of DARK WINDS a few days ago, with several days of shooting in Monument Valley.   This is the Navajo detective series we’re doing for AMC, based on the fantastic Joe Leaphorn/ Jim Chee novels of the late great Tony Hillerman.   The first season was largely based on LISTENING WOMEN, with some of PEOPLE OF DARKNESS folded in.   The new season completes the PEOPLE OF DARKNESS storyline.   We got some great reviews for season one — and I really hope we get some Emmy attention too, though the show ran last June, and people do forget — and they tell me season two is even better.   If you missed season one, you can still catch it streaming on AMC+.  Post production is just starting on season two, no release date yet, but I’m thinking summer, maybe spring.

(Please note that I did not use “Winds” in the title of this blog.   The last time I did that, the internet went nuts.   Guys, gals, c’mon, Tony Hillerman wrote and published THE DARK WIND decades before I ever dreamed of Westeros).

On other fronts, we’re still working on a Wild Cards television series.   It’s… sigh… “in development,” which means… hell, nobody knows what it means.   But if we can get it up and running, it will be a fun show.   The world of the Wild Cards as a big as the Marvel or DC multiverses, with thirty-one volumes published to date and more on the way, forty odd authors, hundreds of stories, a vast lineup of characters.   This particular take on the world is based largely on FORT FREAK, and centered on Jokertown.

For a glimpse into what it means to adapt a book or story for television, check out David Anthony Durham’s latest blog post on the Wild Cards website, “A Tale of A Tail.”  You can find it at https://www.wildcardsworld.com/a-tale-of-a-tail/

And check out the rest of the website while you’re there.   We’ve got a ton of blog posts and other content for Wild Cards fans to explore.

Oh… shifting gears again… anyone here from Wisconsin?   If so, watch out: the Cooters are coming to Eau Claire.

Yes, NIGHT OF THE COOTERS has been officially accepted into the Midwest Weirdfest.

http://www.midwestweirdfest.com/

Based on the classic short story by Howard Waldrop, NIGHT OF THE COOTERS tells the tale of the day the Martians invaded Pachuco, Texas.   Vincent d’Onofrio directed the short film, and  stars as Sheriff Lindley.   Trioscope did the effects for us.

Here’s our trailer:

Weirdfest will be screening our short on March 4, we’re told.   They have a lot of other… ah, weird… movies to showcase too, so if you’re anywhere near Eau Claire, get your tickets now.

And for all you other Waldropians out there, well, this is just the start.   MARY-MARGARET ROAD-GRADER finished shooting here in Santa Fe in November, with Steven Paul Judd directing.    That one looks to be a lot of fun as well.   We’re deep in post now.   Watch this space for further news.

There’s more, there’s always more, but I don’t have the time right now.   Back to work.

Current Mood: busy busy

The Winds of June

April 20, 2022 at 8:46 am
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The Dark Winds will start blowing in June.   June 12, to be precise.

That’s the day that DARK WINDS, a new series based on the classic bestselling Navajo detective novels by Tony Hillerman, will premiere on AMC and AMC+.   I have blogged about the show before, but this is the first time we have had a release date.

Tony was one of the first friends I made when I moved to New Mexico in 1979, and it’s an honor to be able to help to bring his stories and characters to the screen.   And what a terrific team we put together to work with.   Robert Redford and Chris Eyre were the ones who invited me into the project, five or six years ago.   We’re all executive producers on the project, and Chris, best known for his groundbreaking film SMOKE SIGNALS, directed the pilot and three other episodes.   He’s just an amazing talent (and long past due for an Emmy nomination).  Robert Redford needs no introduction, of course.   Hey, if you don’t know the Sundance Kid, you don’t know movies.   Tina Elmo, Bob’s right hand, was also an executive producer, and was there on the set every day during the filming.  Graham Roland, of JACK RYAN fame, scripted the pilot for us, and served as executive producer as well.

Zahn McClarnon stars as Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo tribal police, with  Kiowa Gordon as his partner Jim Chee.  Jessica Matten is Bernadette Manuelito, and we have Deanna Allison as Emma Leaphorn, Noah Emmerich agent Whitover of the FBI, and Rainn Wilson as Devoted Dan.  The show was filmed right here in the Land of Enchantment, in and around Santa Fe, on the Navajo reservation and other tribal lands, and at Camel Rock Studios.   The young writers and directors in our writers’ room were all Native American, and I think you will be hearing a lot from some of them in the years to come… maybe for their work on DARK WINDS (fingers crossed).

The first season of DARK WINDS is six episodes, based largely on Tony Hillerman’s novel LISTENING WOMAN, with a bit of PEOPLE OF DARKNESS mixed in for good measure.   Do go out and grab those books (we have copies at Beastly Books)… and pick up four or five of Tony’s other novels as well.   We’re hoping they will be the basis for future seasons.   Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee had some amazing cases.

AMC has released the first trailer.  Here, have a taste.

Hope you enjoyed that.

If so, mark JUNE 12 on your calendars, and tell your friends.   AMC has some good television coming your way.

 

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

A DARK WIND Is Rising

July 9, 2021 at 9:22 pm
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I moved from Iowa to New Mexico in late 1979.   A few months later, Roger Zelazny took me down to Albuquerque to First Friday, the monthly writer’s luncheon at the Albuquerque Press Club, where I met the bestselling mystery writer Tony Hillerman, one of the founders of the group.  Tony was a delight, a great lunch companion and a born storyteller… and, as I soon learned, a marvelous writer.   Once I tried one of his Joe Leaphorn novels, I was hooked.   I read as many as I could get my hands on, and then found myself eagerly awaiting the next, like millions of other readers around the globe.

Now, I am thrilled to report, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are returning to television.

We just got word from AMC that they are greenlighting DARK WINDS, based on Tony’s novels about the two Navajo tribal policemen.   The first season will be six episodes long, adapted (largely) from LISTENING WOMAN, one of my favorite books in the series.   If we get the viewers. more seasons will follow, and more books will be adapted.

There’s lots more, but why should I rehash it all when the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER has all the details:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/robert-redford-george-r-r-martin-team-for-dark-winds-zahn-mcclarnon-1234979828/

DARK WINDS will be filmed in and around Santa Fe and Gallup, and on the Navajo reservation, and based out of the Native-owned Camel Rock Studios (the former Camel Rock Casino), right here in the Land of Enchantment.   Filming will begin in August, and continue — we hope — for many years.

Bob Redford and Chris Eyre have put together a great team (with a little help from yours truly), and we hope to make a great show, one that truly captures the magic of this very special place.   Look for DARK WINDS on AMC in 2022.

((Comments allowed, but ONLY about Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee, DARK WINDS, and the works of Tony Hillerman.   Off topic comments will be deleted by my marvelous minions)).

Current Mood: excited excited