‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ showrunner on re-creating success of ‘Yellowstone:’ ‘Didn’t cross my mind’
2023/11/01

Taylor Sheridan, the co-creator of "Yellowstone," is back with a new series called "Lawmen: Bass Reeves." The show revolves around the life of Bass Reeves, a legendary trailblazer who was the first black deputy US Marshal west of the Mississippi River. Chad Feehan, the showrunner, described how most people's experiences with Bass involve hearing about his adventures as a gun-slinging lawman, pursuing notorious outlaws in the Wild West. However, what shocked Feehan was Bass' backstory. Sheridan, who is also the executive producer of the series, expands his TV empire with "Lawmen: Bass Reeves." He already has successful shows like "Yellowstone" and "1923," starring acting icons like Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford.

Additionally, he is working on "Tulsa King" with Sylvester Stallone. In "Lawmen: Bass Reeves," David Oyelowo takes on the lead role as Bass Reeves, while Donald Sutherland plays a judge, Dennis Quaid portrays deputy US Marshal Sherill Lynn, and Shea Whigham stars as George Reeves, the man who enslaves Bass at the beginning of the show. The historical drama is set to premiere on November 5th on Paramount+. Working with David Oyelowo has been the highlight of Feehan's career. He praises Oyelowo's dedication and craftsmanship as an actor, as well as his grace as a collaborator. Feehan also expresses his excitement about working with cinematic heroes from his childhood, Donald Sutherland and Dennis Quaid. However, Feehan clarifies that he did not aim to imitate the success of "Yellowstone" and was solely focused on telling the best story possible and honoring Bass Reeves. Sheridan's involvement in the show allowed Feehan to have creative freedom and autonomy. He is grateful to both Sheridan and Oyelowo for entrusting him with this project. Sheridan even contributed some magical storytelling elements, such as suggesting a scene in the pilot where Bass has an emotional reunion with his wife, Jennie, a favorite scene of Feehan's.

The story begins in 1862, during the Civil War when Reeves is enslaved and fighting for the Confederacy. Feehan believes that the idea of an enslaved man being forced to participate in battles for the Confederacy and later escaping to live among the American Indians is an exciting and compelling starting point for the character. The pilot episode includes some intense battle scenes that depict the brutality of war and the challenges Bass Reeves faced during his time as a deputy US Marshal. Filming the series in North Texas was not an easy task. From January to May, the crew encountered extreme weather conditions, including ice storms and scorching heat. Locations necessary for the show often required long drives, making the shoot particularly grueling. Despite the challenges, Feehan wouldn't trade the experience for anything. "Lawmen: Bass Reeves" promises an intriguing and action-packed portrayal of Bass Reeves' life as a trailblazing lawman. With Sheridan's guidance, Feehan aims to deliver a captivating story that does justice to the legendary figure. The series is set to captivate audiences when it premieres in November.

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