Back in February, we connected some dots following our stumbling across Vince Gerardis’s Startling Inc. site listing a number of titles that he had in production and development. Among the items there was a note: “Dark Winds at AMC”. We speculated that this was based on Tony Hillerman’s crime novels and that GRRM was involved due to a post he made back in June 2018.
This is now all confirmed thanks to James Hibberd at The Hollywood Reporter:
“The network has ordered Dark Winds, which is based on author Tony Hillerman’s iconic Leaphorn & Chee books, which follow two Navajo police officers in the 1970s Southwest.
“The series is created and executive produced by Graham Roland (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan) and stars Zahn McClarnon (Fargo), who is also an executive producer, and Kiowa Gordon (The Red Road). Vince Calandra (Castle Rock) is the showrunner and also an executive producer. Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals) will direct the pilot and executive produce. Other executive producers include George R.R. Martin, Robert Redford, Tina Elmo and Vince Gerardis. In a rare move, the production has secured permission to film on tribal lands in New Mexico.”
There’s also a statement from GRRM that Hibberd reports, indicating that Chris Eyre (who directed the accoladed film Smoke Signals) and Robert Redford(!) reached out to ask him to become involved and help bring Hillerman’s Leaphorn & Chee series to television.
Zach McClarnon as Hanzee Dent in the 2nd season of Fargo
Per the statement from Martin:
“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. 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 >a href=“https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0565647/”>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.”