“The Contender” director Rod Lurie has landed a pilot order at TNT for “Monsters of God,” a drama that chronicles Colonel “Terrible” Bill Lancaster’s holy war against the Comanche in post-Civil War Texas.
“Monsters of God” was previously developed at Starz. The project has been a long-gestating passion project for Lurie, a former U.S. Army artillery officer who has spent a great deal of time researching the Comanche Wars.
TNT confirmed the greenlight Sunday during its portion of the TV Critics Association press tour, where it also announced that it had ordered new Charles Barkey series “The Race Card,” and renewed “The Last Ship” for a fourth season.
Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment is producing “Monsters of God” along with Turner’s in-house Studio T. TNT original programming executive vice president Sarah Aubrey calls the drama “our version of a western chock-full of violence, sex and insane characters.”
According to TNT, “Monsters of God” will chronicle Lancaster’s quest to kill off every single member of the Comanche tribe – despite a peaceful co-existence between the Native Americans and locals in the town of Slater. Lancaster’s wife, Cynthia, has other ideas, looking to challenge the U.S. Army and even align with Comanche women to push for women’s rights.
Lurie wrote and will direct the pilot. He’s also an executive producer, along with Battle Plan Productions’ Marc Frydman and Plan B’s DeDe Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Sarah Esberg.
Lurie’s TV credits include ABC’s “Commander in Chief.” He also directed the upcoming NatGeo film “Killing Reagan.”
“Monsters of God” is part of TNT’s strategy to move toward gritty and upscale dramas like its new series “Animal Kingdom” and its upcoming “Good Behavior.” The network also has the pilots “Civil” (starring Bradley Whitford, Toby Jones and Courtney B. Vance) and “Claws” (starring Niecy Nash and Harold Perrineau) in contention.
As for “The Race Card,” Barkley (who is already a part of TNT’s “Inside the NBA” team) will take on different hot-button subjects that revolve around race relationships in the United States.
TNT has ordered six one-hour episodes of “The Race Card,” which will premiere some time in early 2017.
“We as Americans never discuss the issue of race in this country and how it impacts everything in our lives until something bad happens,” Barkley said in a statement. “I see this project as a way to talk about race, class and cultural differences and challenge everyone’s status quo.”
Dan Partland, who oversaw CNN’s “The Sixties,” will executive produce with Barkley, Lee Gaither and Marc Perman.