HBO News Blog

Gandolfini’s BIG DEAD PLACE Revived At HBO

By Jef Dinsmore on Jan 22, 2016 to HBO News

People_JamesGandolfiniHBO has just unburied an old James Gandofini (pictured) project with Tim Van Patten at the helm. Just how old? Our first reporting of the work comes from back in 2011 when the late THE SOPRANOS star was looking for his next series after his Jersey mobster. It was BIG DEAD PLACE. That project passed by the wayside as HBO considered CRIMINAL JUSTICE (now known as CRIME) instead; a work we are still waiting for.

People_TimVanPattenTim Van Patten (pictured), a former director of THE SOPRANOS and BOARDWALK EMPIRE is now bringing the concept back to the table. He will serve as executive producer. The work, based on Nicholas Johnson’s memoir about his stint working for the U.S. Antarctic Program, is described as a 21st century survival tale that takes us into the strange and menacing world of Antarctica, where scientists, bureaucrats, and blue-collar grunts working at McMurdo Station fight for the existence of the last unconquered continent.

Publisher’s Weekly said of the book:

BigDeadPlace_BookWhen Johnson went to work for the U.S. Antarctic Program (devoted to scientific research and education in support of the national interest in the Antarctic), he figured he’d find adventure, beauty, penguins and lofty-minded scientists. Instead, he found boredom, alcohol and bureaucracy. As a dishwasher and garbage man at McMurdo Station, Johnson quickly shed his illusions about Antarctica. Since he and his co-workers seldom ventured beyond the station’s grim, functional buildings, they spent most of their time finding ways to entertain themselves, drinking beer, bowling and making home movies. The dorm like atmosphere, complete with sexual hijinks and obscene costume parties, sometimes made life there feel like “a cheap knock-off of some original meaty experience.” What dangers there were existed mostly in the psychological realm; most people who were there through the winter developed the “Antarctica stare,” an unnerving tendency to forget what they were saying mid-sentence and gaze dumbly at the station walls. And if the cold and isolation didn’t drive one crazy, the petty hatreds and mindless red tape might.

This writer was interested in this project back then and hopes that it comes to fruition now. Imagine the mind games at play in a claustrophobic and cold place with nowhere to go to escape it but out into the bitter elements. Still sounds great to me and I hope Van Patten can make it happen. If you perhaps share this opinion how about commenting below and/or finding the source material to read. More on this as it hopefully comes to fruition this time. 

(Source: Deadline)

  • Jonas

    I studied Vinyl’s directors list just a few days ago and wondered what Van Patten is up to these days. A own project makes sense.

    If that book draws in TVP and at some point Gandolfini, I should consider buying it.

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