EXCLUSIVE: E1 Entertainment has come on board to produce the AMC Western pilot Hell on Wheels. Endemol USA, which developed the project over the past two years, will executive produce. David Von Ancken (Californication) has signed on to direct the pilot, written by Joe and Tony Gayton. Additionally, E1 and Endemol USA have entered into an international distribution partnership for Hell on Wheels, with Endemol holding all TV distribution rights across Europe and E1 selling the potential series in all remaining territories. E1 also holds worldwide rights for DVD/Blu-ray, VOD and digital distribution. Production on the pilot is scheduled to begin in Alberta, Canada in August.
Hell on Wheels is set in the 1860s and and centers on former confederate soldier Cullen Bohannan, whose quest for vengeance has led him to the Union Pacific Railroad’s westward construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad. “Hell on Wheels brilliantly captures the world surrounding the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad in post civil war America,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s SVP of original programming. ”The epic setting provides the perfect backdrop for the early industrialism and corruption surrounding the project; the incredible immigrant experience; and the good, the bad, and the ugly of what it took to get this railroad built.”
Hell on Wheels is executive produced by Endemol USA’s SVP scripted programming Jeremy Gold and the Gaytons. E1 Television CEO John Morayniss and SVP creative affairs Michael Rosenberg will oversee production. ICM-repped Von Ancken knows the genre and the period well. He co-wrote and directed the 2006 feature Seraphim Falls, a Western starring Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan which was set in the 1860s and featured, among other supporting characters, a rail crew.
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