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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Deadwood’ regulars react to series’ reported demise; Brown: ‘I guess the horse is dead’

October
1

earl-and-jim.jpgTrust me. I’d much rather speak with “Deadwood” actors W. Earl Brown (Dan Dority, left) and Jim Beaver (Ellsworth, right) under happier circumstances. But I had to see if they would confirm and react to costar Ian McShane’s claims that the Western’s set was being dismantled and that the show was, in fact, done.

In August, days after Brown used the metaphor of a horse, “lying trailside foaming at the nostrils and heaving for breath” to describe the state of the show to subscribers of his blog, he was more optimistic about the series’ return in an Aug. 23 MySpace message to me. But in responding tonight at 7:44 p.m. EST to my follow-up inquiry, he confirmed the report of the tear-down and predicted “Deadwood’s” demise:

I called Ian, it seems that it is true—the sets are being dismantled. It makes sense, HBO had a 5 year deal to lease the lot. We started in Oct. 02. Those five years are up. The earliest possible date to even start a DW film would be June 08, due to Ian’s schedule. The industry is fearing a possible strike that would start June 08. To keep leasing the property, set dressing, and costumes would cost at least a year’s rental. So… I guess the horse is dead.

Beaver responded to me, in the more traditional e-mail format, 21 minutes later. His take was just as grim:

I saw the McShane quote. I don’t doubt it. I have NO insights or special knowledge, but my sense of things is that it’s over. I talked to David Milch today. He mentioned he was working on a movie for HBO, but the tone of our conversation led me to believe it was completely unrelated to Deadwood. Funny, I didn’t even think to ask straight out, though. At any rate, my gut tells me that if the movies or a fourth season were going to be made, the announcement would already have been made. That’s just my gut. But Ian’s remarks didn’t surprise me in the least.

Granted, Beaver’s “Deadwood” character was killed off in Season 3, but I’m sure it gives him no joy to see the show that showcased one of his most celebrated performances end too soon.

Meanwhile, Brown is in the process of trying to claim some of his character’s key props before they are lost forever.

I called both producers this morning about getting the Dority hat, knife, and gun belt. I haven’t heard back from either. Once I talk to either of them, I’ll know where things stand. But, I’m figuring that it is over.

Brown also waxed poetic about other HBO series that got proper send-offs:

SIX FEET UNDER got the best send off episode in the history of television. SOPRANOS ending was either great or awful (depending on one’s interpretation of it) but at least it got people talking. DEADWOOD—it just stopped. No ending. Just Stopped. It’s like never finding out that “Rosebud” was his sled or that Darth was Luke’s father.

F***.

The final episodes of THE WIRE will mark the end of HBO’s reign as tv’s best destination. Water Coolers across the country will never be the same.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

(Photos courtesy of MySpace.)

This entry was posted on Monday, October 1st, 2007 at 11:59 pm by Chris Serico. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Deadwood, Jim Beaver, John from Cincinnati, Six Feet Under, Sopranos, The Wire, W. Earl Brown

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20 Responses to “EXCLUSIVE: ‘Deadwood’ regulars react to series’ reported demise; Brown: ‘I guess the horse is dead’”

  1. tvspace

    Just a sad development. When good projects are allowed or pushed into the abyss with closure is a tragedy.

    Thank goodness we have “John From Cincinnati” to remind us how even talented people can screw up while still making money.

    Deadwood will be missed.

  2. Lynne

    Are you blind? What happened with Deadwood was tragic, all right. But to pull John From Cincinnat off the air-with multiple story arcs generating, an amazed and delighted viewership (growing every week!), a series that was challenging the experience of watching a television show, actively engaging fans, actually thinking about text, sub-text, meanings hidden and blatantly laid out-killing JFC was a travesty. If you haven’t been entranced personally with the show you don’t need to ridicule the people who do indeed love the show and are fighting to get some version going; we are really confused that TMYLM would get picked up for a second season but JFC got axed after only 10 eps. HBO is blind.

  3. joe cairo

    As lamentable as the sudden demise of Deadwood is, there is this saving grace: the “emergence” of Ian McShane as one of the truly powerful acting forces in the known universe.

    Watching the evolution of McShane’s “Al Swearingen” was riveting,to say the very least. The complexities of this characterization was a such a delight to unravel.

    How fortunate his colleagues were to be in the presence of such a magnificent talent. How unfortunate for us that he was not able to bring the character to term, so to speak.

  4. Ron

    My letter to HBO on this matter…

    To the programming executives at HBO:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I never watched Television before, ever. A friend of mine introduced me to your series Deadwood, and then I found Oz, Carnivale, Six-Feet Under, Sopranos and more. I was enthralled.

    At that time many years ago, I purchased a television set of my own and subscribed to HBO for nothing else but your channel. Network and regular cable was below my tastes and not tolerated in my household. After all, “it wasn’t TV, it was HBO�. By all means, I was a class TV snob.

    Your decision to end Deadwood without the two movies was a blow to your viewership that can not and will not be excused. That’s the final blow to me, and you are now a dead company in my eyes.

    I must remind you about the most beautiful ending to a series in television history, that of Six Feet Under. It was brilliant, gave an end to the fans, and was just a very artistic and beautiful ending to an overly-long run. The end of Sopranos was known, but done with a “whack� that was not deserving of the fan-base as 6FU was. Should Sopranos come back in any form, count me out.

    Currently my subscription to my cable service includes all premium channels, so I had to go to extreme measures to get a discount on my bill by having them exclude HBO. It took a supervisor to remove your channel and take twelve lousy dollars off my bill. Believe me, it’s your loss not mine. You have nothing to offer any more, regardless of what you may think.

    Even though Chris Albrecht was an idiotic dictator, he did launch your company into water-cooler history. Maybe you could use a little mental illness again within the confines of your executive board meetings.

    Your viewers will never, ever, trust your network on its word again. The failure to live up to your promise will cost you dearly. Showtime is passing you up guys. Although you will never have the viewership trust in your abilities again, you could regain your viewership by putting Deadwood back into your plans, with the original cast, no matter how far in the future. We’ll wait patiently until Ian McShane and others are free. They would all love to participate.

    Honestly, I believe that Milch had as much to do with this decision as did the new management. He’s got a grudge and brilliant as he might have been, needs to step away from the crack-pipe and leave the ego behind. I don’t want to see anything else he develops and truthfully, the past writers, both cast members and regular writers are perfectly capable of finishing off another season. Milch is dead in my eyes and I’ll never watch a single episode of anything he’s a part of again.

    “HBO has become a visionless empire under the direction of an idiotic dictator, which shall cause the fall of the last bastion of intelligent programming for a shrinking group of discerning viewers.” – Ron Pevey, June 10, 2006

  5. Chandra

    HBO has not finished many of its series: Sopranos, Carnivale, john from cincinatti, Rome and Deadwood. Why would anyone watch any new series as the chances of completing it withot dangling plots is almost nill?

  6. Amy Vernon

    I know everyone wants to blame HBO for this, and I think the network did screw up on some things, but c’mon. David Milch is at least partly to blame. He chose to work on John from Cincinnati instead of Deadwood. He’s at least as much to blame as HBO.

    And I don’t see how anyone can blame HBO for the Sopranos ending. That lands squarely in Chase’s lap. He copped out on an ending and HBO had no creative input into that. And the long lags between seasons were largely Chase’s fault, too. He wanted to take the amount of time he wanted to take.

  7. Hobola

    Needless to say, I won’t be watching any future HBO series. I’m not going to invest another 3 years of viewing so they can dump me flat on my face again.
    Fooled me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me…

  8. V. Love

    I am not so naive as to think that anything said here will make one bit of difference but I will have my say. Deadwood was a masterpiece of creativity. The sheer depth of the characters was phenomenal. I was distressed that it was canceled and I feel cheated now that the movies are dead. I am done with HBO, finished. No more, no more.

  9. Sarah

    I am so upset that HBO decided to not go through with making the Deadwood movies. I have never before seen a show so amazing in my life and I watch a lot of t.v. I think that they owe it to the viewers to end the show properly even though I know that everyone says it is dead deal. I hope that viewers will start to cancel HBO so then they finally get it through their heads that we are all pissed off!!!! I LOVE AL SWERENGEN!!!!!

  10. Ben C

    Please for the love of god, make the movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Seth

    please make a full and complete fourth season with a good or if its too much to ask in return for three years of my fucking television watching life, atleast a passable ending and not some stupid cut short movie just for the fuck of it.

    if you dont someone ought to slit your own fucking throats.
    (and dont worry im not like a …. crazy person.)

    so just please make a good fourth fucking season and i dont think many would mind a fifth.

  12. Bill S

    Deadwood was one of the best series to ever be broadcast on TV, period. To end the series in the way that Milch & HBO have done, is an affront to fans of TV everywhere. Since the viewing public is mainly responsible for the success or failure of any given show, I will not watch another Milch show (I smile whenever I think of “John from Cincinnati”), & I have cancelled HBO. You don’t treat the people who have helped you achieve your success, by lying to them & treating them as a disposable commodity.

  13. Rick

    HBO reminds of of the tease at the local bar; always winking at you and implying that you’re in for the time of your life, but never delivering! Afterward, you just feel used and disappointed, and perhaps down on yourself for being so naive.

    For several years, I planned my Sunday nights around the HBO schedule. I had to be home…phone turned off, no company, no distractions allowed! It was the one night a week that I HAD to watch TV!

    Deadwood was my absolute favorite, but I also loved Carnivale, Rome, and the Sopranos. I hated the ending on the Sopranos, but at least it had one!

    I respect David Milch…the writing and directing of Deadwood was some of the best television I have seen in my 50 years. But, if he had to move on, there were other writers on the show that could have continued with a different person in charge. It happens all the time on regular TV, and after three seasons, those who stayed on could have maintained the integrity of the series.

    HBO raves about their original programming, and I did too, to friends and family, and on my personal website. But now, it seems to be a network that only shows old movies that can be purchased in the five dollar bin at Walmart. As soon as football season ends (I love Inside the NFL) I too will cancel my subscription and move to another premium channel.

    To the actors, writers, and crew of Deadwood, thank you for creating one of the best shows in the history of television!

  14. TEDDY

    in a HBO “on demand” interview with David Milch years ago, he looked right into the camera and said about deadwood….
    “It has the potential to run longer than andy griffith and mayberry RFD, sorry andy”

    hey david,in a time when our world is so screwed up, a time that all of us in the USA are just completely fed up with politicians and and mainstream media lying to us 24/7…

    could you at least for the love of god…

    “do the right thing” and honor your words?...

    finish the series..please, we beg of you..

    isn’t anything sacred anymore?

    .............TEDDY

  15. Edward Kelly

    Just watched all 3 series again and feel cheated. For fucks sake what happened?

  16. T. Lynn

    Why would a show that had such a super great cast, writers and origionality just end so poorly? Come on guys, the fans deserve better. Please make the fourth season and finish the series properly. If nothing else…I’ll except the two movies, we deserve at the least that much.

  17. JAMES K.

    BEST SERIES AND CAST IN THE LAST 5 YEARS!DEADWOOD DESERVES TO BE COMPLETED FOR IT,S LOYAL FANS AND FOLLOWERS,EVEN IF IT SUCKS LIKE THE SOPRANO ENDING!AT LEAST THERE WAS AN ENDING!COME ON HBO,COME ON DAVIDBRING “LIFE “TO “DEADWOOD”...FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED.AT LEAST BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF HEARST SOMEHOW..HE RODE OFF INTO THE SUNSET TOO HAPPY AND CONTENT.

  18. CYNTHIA

    HERE IT IS 2010 AND I STILL RE-WATCH DEADWOOD AND I STILL BECOME SO UPSET AT THE “LACK OF” ENDING. DAMN YOU HBO AND ALSO YOU MILCH FOR LETTING THE BABY BE THROWN OUT WITH THE BATH WATER. AND AS SO MANY HAVE SAID, I KNOW IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE WHAT I OR YOUR “PREVIOUS” FANS THINK OF FEEL, BUT I CANCELLED HBO AFTER YOU CANCELLED DEADWOOD AND AS LONG AS I LIVE I WILL NEVER, EVER SUBSCRIBE TO HBO AGAIN. NOR WILL I RECOMMEND HBO TO ANYONE. WHERE I WAS HAPPY AND YES, EVEN GREATFUL TO SUBSCRIBE TO HBO AT THAT TIME, IF YOU SHOULD EVER HAVE ANYTHING WORTH WATCHING AGAIN, I WILL DOWNLOAD IT OFF THE INTERNET FOR FREE THANK YOU VERY MUCH! WE USE TO THINK THAT COMPANIES LIKE HBO REALLY DID CARE ABOUT THEIR FANS BASE, ONLY TO FIND OUT IT IS ONLY ABOUT GREED AND EGO AND TO HELL WITH US WORKING FOLKS WHO SUPPORT YOU. THE CAST OF DEADWOOD WERE LIKE FAMILY TO US FOR 3 YEARS, AND NOW THEY ARE MIA AND WE WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT BECAME OF THEM. I CAN ONLY HOPE THAT HBO GOES DOWN AND GOES DOWN HARD!! AH… WHERE IS IAN MCSHAIN AND HIS TRUSTY KNIVE WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HIM?? HBO…. YOU HAVE NO HONOR, YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE WITH ME.

  19. Paul@Paris

    I’ve just finished the 3rd season. What a disappointment. Don’t HBO know how to tell a story anymore? I loved Six Feet Under and thought the final episode was truly brilliant. I loved The Sopranos and was overwhelmed by the final scene. But what the f**k was the final episode of Deadwood. I bought the 3 seasons on DVD as I hadn’t seen them on TV here in France. I will be very wary of buying any other HBO product in the future if this is how they treat their viewers.

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