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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are coming to TV.
Following a multiple-outlet bidding war, Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell’s Stone Village Television has landed rights to author Charles Leerhsen’s book Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw. An outlet is not yet attached.
Stone Village plans to self-finance the development through Latin American and European sources and possibly production before shopping the premium limited series to cable networks and streamers. The plan is to produce the series to target an international audience, specifically the Latin American market. The story will follow Butch and Sundance across the U.S. and into Latin America, ending in Bolivia.
“Much of the book and the adventures of The Sundance Kid (Cassidy’s partner Harry Longabaugh) and the ‘Wild Bunch’ gang takes place in South America. During that time period, Butch Cassidy and his gang were more well-known there than in North America. This isn’t just an American Western story, but a Latin American story, and it needs to be told. There are so many aspects of this story that will excite the audiences of today,” Steindorff said.
Founded in 1998, Stone Village is the production company behind HBO Max’s Station Eleven (due this year), a drama about the survivors of a devastating flu working to rebuild and reimagine the world. The company is also adapting Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for TV along with a number of other titles.
The story of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was previously adapted for film in 1969, with Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the leading roles, respectively. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 2003 and ranks among the AFI’s 100 great American films.
“Scott seems to me uniquely qualified to explore the Butch Cassidy story as a TV series,” said author Leerhsen. “He’s been a lifelong fan of the movie and was a colleague and friend to Paul Newman, who to many people is Butch. But beyond that he is as excited as I was to discover that the movie, as great as it was, left out some of the most intriguing parts of Butch and Sundance’s great adventure. Scott is drawn to the fact that there’s so much untapped drama and romance in the true tale — as well as a mind-blowing finale that the Hollywood of 50-something years ago felt it just couldn’t handle. He’s as at-home with my book and its characters as Butch Cassidy was on the Outlaw Trail.”
ICM brokered the deal for Leerhson, with Russell repping Stone Village TV.
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