EXCLUSIVE: Former The Art of More star Christian Cooke and James Bloor (Dunkirk) have been cast as co-leads opposite David Thewlis in Barkskins, National Geographic’s scripted drama series based on the 2016 bestselling novel of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx. The series hails from Elwood Reid, Fox 21 TV Studios and National Geographic.
Proulx’s Barkskins spans over 300 years. It chronicles the deforestation of the New World from the arrival of Europeans into the contemporary era of global warming through the stories of two immigrants to New France, René Sel (Cooke) and Charles Duquet (Bloor), who work as wood-cutters — barkskins — and of their descendants.
Cooke’s René Sel is a strong willed, morally sound indentured servant, signed to Monsieur Claude Trepagny (Thewlis), a wealthy landowner with grand visions for New France.
Bloor’s Duquet is a scrappy, industrious scoundrel, also signed to servitude under Trepagny.
Created by Reid, Barkskins the series follows a disparate group of outcasts who must navigate the brutal hardships, competing interests, and tangled loyalties at the crossroads of civilization — 1600s New France —where the war to escape their past and re-make themselves is cast against the vast and unforgiving wilds of North America.
Reid executive produces along with Scott Rudin, Garrett Basch, Eli Bush, and David Slade, who will also direct. The series is slated to go into production later this year and will premiere on National Geographic globally in 172 countries and 43 languages.
English actor Cooke most recently starred as Graham Connor in Crackle’s The Art of More. His other credits include Ordeal By Innocence and Magic City. He’s repped by WME, Management 360, and Hamilton Hodell in the UK.
Bloor is repped by Grandview, CAA, 42 and Huy Nguyen.