Prolific TV director Paul Edwards will direct National Geographic Channel’s (NGC) four-hour scripted movie event “Saints & Strangers,” TheWrap has exclusively learned.
The fall miniseries, produced by Sony Pictures Television with Little Engine Productions, will begin shooting this summer in South Africa. The film focuses on the relationship between Native Americans and the earliest settlers.
“Paul’s resume reads like a ‘must-watch’ list of TV programs from the last two decades, and we’re excited to watch him bring this story to life in a creative and cohesive way,” Tim Pastore, NGC’s president of Original Programming and Production, said.
“We are thrilled that Paul will be at the helm of this extraordinary project to contribute his vast expertise and experience as a director and cinematographer,” added Helen Verno, executive vice president of movies and limited series for Sony Pictures Television.
The 15-year veteran has directed episodes “Gotham,” “Agents of SHIELD,” “The Blacklist,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Bates Motel,” “Fringe” and “Lost.” Edwards received a BAFTA TV award for his work on “Heroes.”
“Saints & Strangers” follows 101 men, women and children who sailed on the Mayflower for a place no one had ever seen. Half of these “pilgrims” were religious separatists who had abandoned their prior lives for religious freedom and an opportunity to create a new social order built on their values. The other half, “adventurers,” were mostly single men seeking financial opportunity and a rapid acquisition of wealth in a new land or trying to escape their old identities or criminal pasts, according to Nat Geo.
Intertwined with these complex inner struggles is the relationship with the Native Americans and the conflicting allegiances among these groups, culminating in trials of assimilation, faith and compromise that to this day define our country.
Executive producers on the project are Grant Scharbo, Gina Matthews, Teri Weinberg and Eric Overmyer. Seth Fisher and Overmyer served as writers; the original script coming from Chip Johannessen, with revisions by Walon Green.
For Sony Pictures Television, executive vice president of movies and limited series is Helen Verno. For National Geographic Channels, president of original programming and production is Tim Pastore; vice president of production is Matt Renner.