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Jeff Bridges To Star In Adaptation Of National Book Ward Winner ‘Shadow Country,’ Penned By David Milch

Jeff Bridges To Star In Adaptation Of National Book Ward Winner 'Shadow Country,' Penned By David Milch

While fans of “Deadwood” were buoyed last month with the news that a movie continuing the events of the series is on the way, the show’s creator David Milch is facing personal hurdles just as his signature professional achievement gets new life. Last week, THR published a profile of Milch, chronicling his battle with a gambling addiction that has nearly ruined him financially. Nonetheless, HBO has more than one Milch-helmed project on the way.

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In addition to the “Deadwood” movie, the trade reveals that Milch is penning an adaptation of Peter Matthiessen‘s National Book Award winning “Shadow Country” with Jeff Bridges attached to star. The massive, 900 plus-page tome tracks the legend of 19th century outlaw E. J. Watson. Here’s the book synopsis: 

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.”

There’s no word yet on who might direct this project. If you’ve read the book, weigh in below and let us know if Milch and Bridges can make it work.

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Lynn Smallwood Mcmillan

I think Jeff Bridges will do a great job. I hope they want to do the movie in Southwest Florida at the site of where Watson was actually shot. This is the first Ive heard of it finally being produced and it was from someone who visited the Smallwood Store today.


This is my all-time favorite novel. I agree with Bill’s observations above and as long as Bridges reigns in his recent bend to caricature, he’ll be fine. Brolin would have also been a fine choice.

Honest Joe

Sad to read about Milch’s gambling addiction. Hope the loss if his fortune results in him twice as productive, as he is a genuine talent.

Bill Craske

This promises to be a major television event. Shadow Country comprises three books (Killing Mr Watson, Lost Man’s River, Bone by Bone) and spans a couple of generations. This project, given its inherent scope, might well be an eight episode series with a gallery of characters whose plights intertwine across the years. There’s a dozen great parts here. Hopefully Milch discovers a couple of new talents rather than wheeling out overexposed movie stars. Having said that the main role requires someone with height. Bridges will be fine. Josh Brolin would have also worked.

David Simpkins

This could be an epic movie or series. I have read shadow country several times and would read it again.
The most challenging thing that will be faced in attempting to create a movie or series from this is matching the incredible detail that the book displays throughout. A series would better serve this, I think, as it would require a 3or4 hour movie, at least. This is a very gritty novel, one of my favorites,so I hope that the film is done well.

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