With Justified recently concluded on FX, Chris Provenzano, whose position on the acclaimed crime drama rose from executive story editor to executive producer over the course of six seasons, is looking to another Elmore Leonard property for his next project. Provenzano has struck a deal with AMC that will include him developing Leonard’s Western novel Gunsights for the network.
Leonard, widely considered to be one of the best Western writers of all time, penned Gunsights in 1979. The novel, set in 1893, focuses on two men, Brendan Early and Dana Moon, who meet first as allies working as a lieutenant and scout for the 10th Cavalry, tracking down renegade Apaches and scalp hunters. Years later, though, the pair find themselves on opposite sides of the fierce Rincon Mountain War, with Early working for a mining company that’s determined to drive Moon and his people off their long-held Arizona land.
There are certainly similarities to FX’s Justified, which centered on childhood friends (Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan Givens and Walton Goggins’ Boyd Crowder) who cross paths in their Kentucky hometown many years after growing apart, with Givens a U.S. marshal and Crowder a career criminal. Justified was adapted from a Leonard short story, titled “Fire in the Hole,” and drew on other works by the author over the course of its run.
It drew consistent acclaim while on the air – more than AMC’s own Western, Hell on Wheels, so it makes sense that the network would want to return to the genre with some of the same players behind Justified. Provenzano also has a pre-existing relationship with AMC, having penned episodes of another recently concluded, roundly applauded drama – Mad Men.
We’ll keep you posted as Gunsights is developed and begins casting up. AMC is busy trying to find the heir apparent to Mad Men and will venture into sci-fi territory with this month’s premiere of Humans, so it seems clear that the network is pushing hard to expand its lineup of original scripted programming.