EXCLUSIVE: HBO has teamed with James Gandolfini for Big Dead Place, a drama based on Nicholas Johnson’s memoir about his stint working for the U.S. Antarctic Program. Gandolfini is executive producing the project, which is being developed as a starring vehicle for him. Breaking Bad writer-producer Peter Gould has been tapped to write the series adaptation, a tragicomic eye view of the fear and loathing, arrogance and insanity of the people living and working the last untamed frontier on the planet — the research base at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Gandolfini and Gould are executive producing with Mosaic’s Jimmy Miller, Gandolfini’s managers Nancy Sanders & Mark Armstrong and actor-writer Brian Swibel, with Sam Hansen serving as co-executive producer. HBO, where Gandolfini has had a production deal for his Attaboy banner since 2006, has been looking to find a new series vehicle for Gandolfini, a followup to his iconic role on the network’s mob drama The Sopranos. He has flirted with a number of projects, including an U.S. version of the hit French Canadian single-camera comedy series Taxi-22, but none so far has gone past the development stage. On the producing side, Gandolfini is executive producing HBO’s upcoming biopic Hemingway & Gellhorn starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. Gould recently did another book adaptation for HBO, this time on the movie side. He wrote the network’s film Too Big To Fail, based on Andrew Sorkin’s book, which earned him an Emmy nomination. Gandolfini and Gould are with CAA.
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