Project is First American Work in "Mystery!" Series' 22-Year History and First PBS-Carlton International Coproduction
BOSTON, MA, February 21, 2002 - Robert Redford's Wildwood Enterprises teams up with PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the UK's Carlton Television to bring Tony Hillerman's bestselling novel "Skinwalkers" to television. Filming takes place at locations outside of Phoenix beginning February 25, in anticipation of a special Fall 2002 broadcast on PBS's Emmy Award-winning "Mystery!" series.
"Skinwalkers" is one of thirteen Hillerman mysteries featuring Native American detectives Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police. Robert Redford will be Executive Producer of the film along with Rebecca Eaton and longtime Redford associate Michael Nozik ("Quiz Show").
"The Chee and Leaphorn mystery series has been a passion project of mine for fourteen years," said Executive Producer Robert Redford. "The chance to elevate the issues surrounding our Native American culture and to do it through the vehicle of solid entertainment is our hope and purpose. I am very happy to see 'Skinwalkers' find its perfect home on PBS."
"We're proud to bring Tony Hillerman's unique talent to television audiences," adds "Mystery!" Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton from the series' WGBH Boston hub. "Viewers are going to love 'Skinwalkers' for the same reasons we do: its vivid depiction of Native American culture; strong, complex characters; and edge-of-your-seat suspense."
"Skinwalkers" is the first project to emerge from the PBS-Carlton International coproduction partnership announced by PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell last year. It also will be the first "Mystery!" title in the series' twenty-two years that is written by an American writer and set in the United States.
"Adding American mysteries to the long-running 'Mystery!' franchise on PBS is part of the reinvention of primetime and there is no better way to launch a new mix of British and American mysteries than with one of the finest of American mystery writers, Tony Hillerman, and one of America's most respected directors, producers, actors, Robert Redford as the Executive Producer," said PBS President Pat Mitchell. "Together with Rebecca Eaton, Redford's Wildwood Productions will bring to PBS audiences a compelling murder mystery set in the native culture of Arizona. 'Skinwalkers' is the first of what we hope will be other Hillerman stories in the 'Mystery!' series."
Chris Eyre ("Smoke Signals") will direct from a script by James Redford ("Ring of Fire"). Adam Beach ("Smoke Signals") and Wes Studi ("Dances with Wolves") star.
Funding for "Skinwalkers" is provided by PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Carlton International. The individual producer is Craig McNeil through Granada Entertainment U.S.A. "Skinwalkers" is a coproduction of PBS and Carlton International and will be presented on PBS by WGBH Boston, and distributed worldwide by Carlton.
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WGBH New York