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After years of false starts and stops, HBO's long-awaited Deadwood movie has officially begin filming. The original western TV series was created by David Milch and was as renowned for its profanity-laced, yet poetic, dialogue as it was for its powerhouse performances by a cast that included Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, John Hawkes, Paula Malcolmson, Brad Dourif, Robin Weigert, Molly Parker, Kim Dickens, and too many other names to list in one place. Suffice it to say, fans were disappointed when the show was cut short after a three season run, back in 2006.
Over the 12 years since then, several of Deadwood's cast members have gone on to become bigger names and, in some cases, further headlined popular genre TV series of their own (see: Olyphant on Justified, Dickens on Fear the Walking Dead, and so forth). Meanwhile, Milch seemingly never gave up hope of getting a movie revival/conclusion to the series made during that time and finally secured a green-light for the project from HBO, late last year. Still, as recently as this spring, actors like Olyphant were doubtful that the Deadwood movie would actually happen, as much as they wanted it to.
Well, Deadwood fans need not worry any longer - HBO has confirmed that production on the movie is underway, with director Daniel Minahan (a Deadwood veteran who has since worked on TV shows like Game of Thrones and House of Cards) calling the shots from Milch's script. The network has further revealed the following synopsis for the Deadwood film:
The indelible characters of the series are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.
All of the aforementioned Deadwood cast members are returning for the film, along with their fellow costars from the series like Dayton Callie, Anna Gunn, William Sanderson, and Gerald McRaney (who played the show's main antagonist, George Hearst, during its latter two seasons). Sadly, though, Powers Boothe - who played the deliciously despicable saloon owner Cy Tolliver on the original series - passed away last year and, thusly, won't be appearing in the film. Beyond that, the movie is confirmed to include newcomer Jade Pettyjohn (who appears in Destroyer later this year), as a character named "Caroline".
Now that most of the show's puzzle pieces are firmly back in place, the question is whether the Deadwood movie can not only recapture the raw dramatic power of the original series, but also feel like a necessary continuation of its story and not just a glorified reunion special. The cast certainly seems confident that it will, with W. Earl Brown (who played Dan Dority on the show) having praised the Deadwood movie script, saying his "emotions ricocheted in every f---ing direction" after reading it. At the very least, the movie should offer a prettier conclusion to the TV series than the truncated ending to season 3 did.