Director David Mackenzie Plots Course For The American Heartland With USA Network’s Damnation


An intelligent marketing campaign and button-pressing subject matter ensures that Sam Esmail’s Mr. Robot continues to one of the most buzzworthy shows lining USA Network’s slate, and that’s even factoring in the at times shaky sophomore season. But USA is cooking up several other exciting properties beyond the firewalls of Elliot Alderson’s shoddy abode.

Case in point: The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Hell or High Water director David Mackenzie has become attached to Damnation, a period drama rooted in the America heartland during the 1930s. The outlet goes on to reveal that Mackenzie has boarded the project to helm the show’s pilot episode, before switching gears to produce the remainder of the season. THR didn’t disclose how many installments USA Network has mapped out, but we’ll keep you posted as more news emerges.

Mackenzie, meanwhile, stands as a fine candidate to help get Damnation off the ground. Though it arrived without much fanfare, Hell or High Water proved to be an old-fashioned hit, displaying a sense of style that the filmmaker has honed throughout Young Adam, Hallam Foe, Asylum and, more recently, Starred Up. Asylum also introduced him to a period setting, albeit the ’50s rather than the ’30s.

Now that the project is beginning to coalesce, the official Damnation synopsis reveals, “an epic saga of the secret history of the 1930s American heartland, the plot centers on the mythic conflict and violent struggle between big money and the downtrodden, God and greed, charlatans and prophets. The pilot follows Seth Davenport, a man masquerading as a small town Iowa preacher in the hopes of starting a full-blown insurrection against the status quo. Focused on his mission, he is unaware that an industrialist tycoon has hired a professional strikebreaker named Creeley Turner to stop the uprising by any means necessary. But unbeknown to those around them, these two men already share a secret bloody past.”

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