HBO are lining up what looks to set to be a spectacular television event, with an adaptation of the award-winning, epic novel Shadow Country, by Peter Matthiessen. It is the story of the life and death of notorious outlaw E.J. Watson, who met an unfortunate end in a remote area of Florida in 1910. The tale is being adapted for television by David Milch – creator of Deadwood – and will star Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges as Watson.
Originally published in the 1990s as a trilogy of novels that were comprehensive in themselves, Matthiessen then re-worked them into one lengthy book made up of three distinct sections. In the first part, local people recount Watson’s arrival in their community, along with his rise to power and influence, and his eventual murder. The second part focuses on his son, Lucius, and the investigations he undertook into his father’s exploits. The third part delivers Watson’s own account of events. It is intended as a semi-fictional rendition of real occurrences.
“Inspired by a near-mythic event of the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the twentieth century, Shadow Country reimagines the legend of the inspired Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson, who drives himself relentlessly toward his own violent end at the hands of neighbors who mostly admired him, in a killing that obsessed his favorite son.
“Shadow Country traverses strange landscapes and frontier hinterlands inhabited by Americans of every provenance and color, including the black and Indian inheritors of the archaic racism that, as Watson’s wife observed, “still casts its shadow over the nation.”
Writer David Milch enjoyed great success with his HBO series Deadwood, which followed characters in a South Dakota town in the 1870s. He clearly has an affinity for the time period which, coupled with the involvement of Jeff Bridges, means Shadow Country is a project to watch out for.
Source: The Playlist