Writers Fontana, Milch back with new projects
Tom Fontana and David Milch, two of the greatest writers from Buffalo’s Hollywood Connection, are in the news this week.
Fontana, who has earned three Emmy awards, four Peabody awards, three Writers Guild Awards, four awards from the Television Critics Associations and several other awards, is working on a new series, “City on a Hill,” for Showtime.
And HBO announced earlier this week that filming has begun in Los Angeles on the long-awaited “Deadwood” movie that is written by Milch, who created the series that ran for 36 episodes from 2004-06 before it prematurely ended.
Fontana, the Buffalo native and SUNY Buffalo State College graduate, whose writing and producing credits include NBC’s “St. Elsewhere” and “Homicide: Life on the Street” as well as HBO’s “Oz,” will be here at 2 p.m. today as part of “The Downtown Jesuits Distinguished Speaker Series.” The event is being held at St. Michael Church, 651 Washington St., and is free to the public.
Fontana will take questions from the audience after the discussion, which will be led by Lisa Ludwig, president of the Theatre District Association and executive-managing director of Shakespeare in Delaware Park.
His new 12-episode series is set in Boston in the 1990s and stars Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge, with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon two of the executive producers.
Like Fontana, Milch also has won multiple awards, including an Emmy for working on “Hill Street Blues” and three Emmys for his work on “NYPD Blue,” which he co-created with the late Steven Bochco. He won two Emmy nominations for his work on “Deadwood.”
According to a release, the characters in the series that won eight primetime Emmys and had 28 nominations “are reunited after 10 years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.”
Of course, the return of the show’s actors are key, and HBO announced that Ian McShane (Al Swearengen), Timothy Olyphant (Seth Bullock), Molly Parker (Alma Ellsworth), Paula Malcomson (Trixie), John Hawkes (Sol Star), Anna Gunn (Martha Bullock), Dayton Callie (Charlie Utter), Brad Dourif (Doc Cochran), Robin Weigert (“Calamity” Jane Canary), William Sanderson (E.B. Farnum), Kim Dickens (Joanie Stubbs) and Gerald McRaney (George Hearst) are back. Jade Pettyjohn, who is on the Nickelodeon series, “School of Rock,” is joining the cast as a character named Caroline.
Besides writing the film, Milch is one of the executive producers. Daniel Minahan, who directed several episodes of the series and whose credits also include “Game of Thrones,” “The Newsroom” and “Six Feet Under,” is directing the “Deadwood” film.