Despite garnering as much acclaim as a television show can possibly garner, The Sopranos has yet to see its cast members emerge as Hollywood players. Sure, Jim Gandolfini has the odd project lined up here and there, but many of the show's supporting actors got caught up early on in a weird loop of unintentionally hilarious Soprano rip-off movies, while others, like Drea De Matteo and Michael Imperioli, are snorkeling in a sea of bad television and worse. Meanwhile, the cast of a far superior show that HBO treats like a red-headed stepchild -- Deadwood -- is pretty much taking over Hollywood in 2007. If you're a fan of the show, you've probably already noticed your favorite players popping up in recent films like Miami Vice and Scoop. More Deadwood-approved fare such as The Wicker Man and Hollywoodland is opening in the next couple of weeks, and that's just the beginning. I count over 20 major, buzzed-about, A-list type films slated to open between now and the end of 2007 that will feature Deadwood denizens.
Since its too early to tell how substantial many of these parts will be -- Robin Weigert, who channels the drunken pistoleer Calamity Jane, has admittedly small roles in upcoming films like The Good German and Things We Lost in the Fire -- I'm confining this rundown to the projects that you might say are among the most buzz-worthy. So here's a selective preview of where to look for your favorite soon-to-be-unemployed Deadwood thespians. Enjoy, hoopleheads.
No Country for Old Men – This hotly anticipated Coen Brothers adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's violent Western thriller [with almost no coherent punctuation] about a cowboy versus a gang of drug dealers will feature Deadwood's resident changeling, Garret Dillahunt. After playing the droop-eyed, illiterate assassin of Wild Bill Hickok in the first season, Dillahunt made a stealthy return to Deadwood in season two as the bowler-wearing dandy and rank amateur prostitute murderer Mr. Wolcott. He's been conspicuously missing in action for season three so far and with only two episodes left to go, his return is not looking likely. Guess we'll have to wait for those miniseries things. In No Country, he plays a character named Wendell, whose very name sounds intriguingly Coen-esque. This one should be good.
His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass – This is the only Ian McShane title I'm including in the list, since he already has seven films scheduled between now and the end of 2007. Needless to say, his role as the armor-plated blacksmith polar bear Iorek in the first part of Philip Pullman's dark trilogy about daemons and deicide should make for some of the most interesting voicework to come down the pike in a while. Watch for a hopefully awesome polar bear duel to the death between Iorek and Bear King Iofur. I'm personally mystified as to how this trilogy will survive the adaptation to film in the first place. Actually, I'm not -- word is they've completely scrubbed that little plot point about the children breaking into heaven and killing God.