10:00am PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
Paul Dano Joins Showtime's Ben Stiller Limited Series 'Escape at Dannemora'
Showtime is rounding out the cast for its prison-escape drama from Ben Stiller.
Paul Dano is the latest film actor to join Escape at Dannemora, the network's upcoming limited series based on the 2015 prison escape in upstate New York. It also stars Oscar winners Benicio Del Toro and Patricia Arquette. While news of the eight-episode series — then titled Escape at Clinton Correctional — was first reported in May, Showtime has now given it a formal production order.
The show, which will be directed and executive produced by Stiller, will tell the real-life story of Richard Matt and David Sweat, two inmates who were discovered missing at the maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility in New York after being aided in their escape by a female prison employee. The escapes spawned a massive manhunt for the two convicted murderers.
Del Toro will play Matt, an artistic yet intimidating force within the prison who masterminds the escape, while Arquette will play Tilly Mitchell, a working-class married woman who supervises the prison tailor shop and becomes sexually involved with both convicts, inducing her to assist them with their escape. Dano will play Sweat, a convicted cop-killer who uses his good looks to seduce Tilly and becomes a reluctant partner in Matt’s plot.
Escape at Dannemora will be written by Mad Men's Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin (The Player), who met while working as writers on Showtime drama Ray Donovan. Johnson and Tolkin will also executive produce alongside Bryan Zuriff (Steve Jobs), Michael De Luca (Fifty Shades of Grey) via Michael De Luca Productions and Nicky Weinstock for Stiller's Red Hour Productions. Production is set to begin later this year at the actual locations in upstate New York.
"We are all very intent on trying to tell this singular story in a way that shows the reality and humanity of the people involved," said Stiller. "While the genre is a prison-escape story, at its core it is a story about real people, some criminals and some not, who make some bad choices that have huge consequences. I think that's what's so compelling about this."
Dano, known for his roles in Swiss Army Man and Love & Mercy, is set to make his directorial debut with the upcoming feature Wildlife, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan. He also stars in Netflix's Okja, which premiered to rave reviews in Cannes.
Dano is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Stone Genow.