Oscar-winning actor Chris Cooper has taken the lead role in “Klondike” (that’s a working title), the first-ever scripted miniseries from Discovery Channel. The drama, which was announced last year, is not, alas, about the invention of a delicious frozen dessert, but is instead adapted from Charlotte Gray’s book “Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike,” about six of the people who traveled out to a remote region of northwest Canada as part of the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800s.
“Klondike” is a co-production between Discovery, eOne and Nomadic Pictures in association with Scott Free Television. Like other networks who’ve built their brand on nonfiction programming, including History (“Hatfields & McCoys”) and National Geographic (“Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden”), Discovery’s making a first foray into the realms of scripted TV here and clearly aiming for prestige. The miniseries is being written and executive produced by “Prison Break” creator Paul Scheuring, with Ridley Scott, David W. Zucker and eOne’s John Morayniss and Michael Rosenberg also on board as EPs.
“Klondike” follows childhood best friends Bill and Epstein as they head to the Yukon Territory in hopes of finding wealth. Cooper will play Father Judge, a priest, while Jack London is slated to be another of the main characters, his experiences in the area going on to inform his writing. Production’s set to being on March 2013 in Alberta, Canada. Cooper’s comes to the miniseries off filming John Wells’ mega-prestigious “August: Osage County” with Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.