I guess this is the big moment a lot of people have been waiting for -- we have a pretty damn fine cast for Warner Horizon and A&E's television pilot, Longmire. Filming of the pilot (which has to test well before the network picks it up to be aired, so it's not time to uncross your fingers just yet) begins in late April down in the Las Vegas/Taos/Santa Fe area of New Mexico, since it was deemed that Wyoming's weather was too unstable for shooting a series and had too much snow to appear to be spring.
It's pretty much been a Cinderella story all along with Emmy-winning Greer Shephard (The Closer, Nip/Tuck, Trust Me) and Mike Robin (The Closer, Rizzoli and Isles, Nip/Tuck, NYPD Blue) executive producing and John Coveny (The Closer, Trust Me)and Hunt Baldwin (The Closer, Trust Me), writing the script and also executive producing. People keep asking me why my experiences have been so different from almost everybody else's, and my response remains the same -- it's the people you're working with, you either trust them or you don't. From the get go, I was aware that there were probably going to be changes in the Absaroka County of my books and the one that hopefully makes it to TV. I knew it was a collaborative effort and what works in some mediums might not work in others. The first revelation on that front was when they told me that they wanted to make Walt a little younger.
They nodded their heads apologetically. "Because if the show runs for ten years, we really don't want Vic doing all of Walt and Henry's leg work."
I had a hard time arguing with that.
Other changes are moving Cady back to Wyoming so that she could have more interaction with her Dad; besides, most actresses don't want to sign a long-term contract just to talk on the answering machine.
They changed Turk's name to Branch because Turk sounds too much like Ferg when spoken out loud.
That was the majority of it.
The changes are no where near major-I'd call them infinitesimal and certainly were made for good reasons -and, of course, the stories will be different, picking up and borrowing chunks of the novels, but following their own tales because of the amount of stories they need to tell and the time constraints in which to tell them. If the series gets picked up, then they'll need about a dozen stories for the first season alone (let alone the ten years we're hoping for), and I, gentle reader, have only written seven books. They don't want to serialize either as it has been proven that series that have a beginning, a middle, and an end in each episode do better; of course, this doesn't mean that the characters lives don't have complications. Just like the books.
There will be more characters cast down the road (don't look for Lucien, Dorothy, or Dog in the pilot), but I wanted to get this out to you guys so you could be a part of the thing as it develops.
There is not a perfect world where the A&E series is going to line up precisely with the image in my or your heads, but boy this crew has been killing themselves in an attempt to get it right, even going so far as to hire my good buddy Marcus Red Thunder along with me as a creative consultants on the set. Why? Because they love the books; they love the characters, the place, and what the novels have to say.
I hope you'll appreciate the hard work they've done on my behalf and yours.
More later about the cast.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Here's some news about the TV version of Craig Johnson's Wyoming-based mystery novels (from Craig's Post-It e-mail newsletter):