AMC Networks has ordered a TV series adaptation of Tony Hilerman’s “Dark Winds” novels for AMC+ and AMC, which will star “Westworld” alum Zahn McClarnon and be executive produced by Graham Roland, George R.R. Martin and Robert Redford.
Per AMC’s official description, “Based on the iconic Leaphorn & Chee book series by Tony Hillerman, Dark Winds is a psychological thriller that follows two Navajo police officers in the 1970s Southwest, as their search for clues in a grisly double murder case forces them to challenge their own spiritual beliefs and come to terms with the trauma of their pasts.”
The first season of “Dark Winds” will consist of six episodes and is scheduled to premiere in 2022 on AMC+ and AMC.
The show has received permission from Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez to film part of the series on Navajo Nation land.
Nez said in a statement Friday: “We look forward to welcoming the film crew and we hope this will serve to draw more interest from production companies and draw more tourists to boost our economy and contribute to the ‘Buy Navajo, Buy Local’ initiative. Thank you to everyone involved in this great venture with the Great Navajo Nation!”
AMC’s “Dark Winds” TV series is created by Roland (“Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”), who executive produces alongside showrunner Vince Calandra. Additional executive producers include Martin, Redford, McClarnon, Kiowa Gordon, Chris Eyre (who will direct the pilot), Tina Elmo and Vince Gerardis.
“Tony Hillerman was one of the greats, as every mystery reader knows. Down here in the Southwest, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are as iconic as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Philip Marlowe, and Travis McGee,” Martin said in a statement. “When my friends Robert Redford and Chris Eyre asked me to help bring Leaphorn and Chee back to television, I could not agree fast enough. We have great source material in Tony’s novel ‘Listening Woman,’ a great pilot script from Graham Roland, a great director in Chris… and what a pair of leads, with Zahn McClarnon as Leaphorn and Kiowa Gordon as Chee! Our plan is to shoot in New Mexico, in and around Santa Fe and on the Navajo reservation, and we are bringing in as many Navajo and other Native Americans as possible, as writers, directors, cast, and crew, to capture all the magic and mystery and wonder of the Land of Enchantment. Thanks to AMC for making it possible. Tony Hillerman wrote a lot of amazing books, and it is our dream to adapt as many of them as we can.”
“We’re thrilled by the prospect of authentically telling this story with a group of remarkably talented individuals,” Dan McDermott, president of original programming for AMC Networks and AMC Studios, said. “This is a rich and deeply unsettling psychological thriller set in a world we know viewers will appreciate experiencing for themselves. The series order is the product of several months in a writers’ room staffed entirely by Native American writers, and it is a series that will be brought to life by those storytellers, with a cast led by Zahn McClarnon and featuring Native American actors, filmed largely in and around Native American lands, with the full support and blessing of The Navajo Nation. We are so excited about telling this captivating and entertaining story while rendering this vibrant, rich, wonderful culture and community on AMC+ and AMC.”