Writ­ers Fon­tana, Milch back with new projects

The Buffalo News - - WEATHER - By Alan Perga­ment NEWS TV CRITIC

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.

Tom Fon­tana

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