Former Sopranos star and HBO favourite James Gandolfini is looking to executive produce and star in Big Dead Place, an adaptation of Nicholas Johnson’s memoir Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica. As first reported by Deadline the project is being developed for HBO and will see Breaking Bad’s Peter Gould tapped to write the adaptation.
Big Dead Place explores what happens when a scientific and research project takes place in a location that is inhospitable to humans. Nicholas Johnson, who was a dishwasher and garbage man at McMurdo Station found the situation to be much different from his grand expectations of life on a research facility. Firstly due to the harsh conditions they rarely left their station which led to some interesting psychological conditions and bizarre activities. This was further fuelled by boredom and alcohol; two factors that made this scientific haven more like a college dorm. If Gandolfini is to take this lead role it will see him tackling waste management of a different kind from his previous HBO starring turn.
Gandolfini has had a production deal with HBO since 2006 and has produced two war documentaries for the network; Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq and Wartorn: 1861-2010. Coming up next year his company Attaboy Films is producing the biopic Hemingway & Gellhorn which stars Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen. Gandolfini has also acquired the rights to Eating With the Enemy: How I Waged Peace With North Korea From My BBQ Shack in Hackensack, a book by Robert Egan and Kurt Pitzer. As the title would suggest this is a story of a strange and true relationship between a New Jersey restaurant owner who had relations with North Korea.
Peter Gould has had previous success on HBO with Too Big To Fail which has scored an impressive 11 Emmy nominations including one for Gould for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special.