Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Discovery Channel Set to Launch First-Ever Scripted Venture 'Klondike'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Discovery Channel Set to Launch First-Ever Scripted Venture 'Klondike'

Article excerpt

Discovery Channel set to launch 'Klondike'

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PASADENA, Calif. - Is there gold in them thar miniseries hills?

Discovery Channel thinks so. The U.S. cable network is set to launch its first-ever scripted venture "Klondike." The six-hour, three-night miniseries begins Jan. 20 on Discovery Canada before continuing the following Tuesday and Wednesday.

Scottish actor Richard Madden ("Game of Thrones"), Abbie Cornish ("RoboCop"), Tim Roth ("Pulp Fiction"), Sam Shepard ("August: Osage County") and Augustus Prew ("Kick-Ass 2") star. Ridley Scott, Paul Scheuring and David Zucker are among the executive producers. It's all based on Charlotte Gray's book "Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike."

The cast and producers took questions from reporters Thursday as part of the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour. A large, Klondike-themed casino was erected for an evening event on the back lawn of the tour hotel.

Shepard was a last-minute replacement for Chris Cooper, who had to withdraw with an illness right before production was scheduled to begin.

Shepard was everybody's next choice but was apparently hard to reach, being off-line and out fishing, something he indulged in while on location in Alberta.

"Some of the biggest cutthroats I've ever seen in my life," Shepard said about fly fishing "way up there on the Athabasca River."

The 70-year-old actor and American playwright has worked in Alberta before, memorably on "Days of Heaven" (1978). Asked why he signed on for "Klondike," he said, "I was out of work."

Scheuring, who wrote the script, said he wasn't intimidated to write for the Pulitzer Prize winner, "because the part was written, thank goodness, before he was cast."

The producers say there was never any thought of shooting the series right in Dawson City, despite the fact that the picturesque Yukon town retains much of the look it had back in the gold rush days of the 1890s. The usual lure of tax grants and funding (The mini-series is produced with the assistance of the Government of Alberta as well as the Alberta Film Development Program) lured production to Alberta. …

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