Time to whip out the ol’ cowboy hat and six shooter — Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is headed to television. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell’s Stone Village Television have purchased the rights to Charles Leerhsen’s Butch Cassidy biography, Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw, following a pretty intense bidding war with several other buyers. As of right now, it’s unknown what outlet Stone Village plans to sell the show to, however they have expressed plans to self-finance the development though before making the call.
The studio has also revealed they intend to make the show for an international audience, utilizing Latin American and European sources and production to create a series that appeals to both North American and Latin American audiences alike. The series’ story is set to follow Butch Cassidy across the United States and throughout Latin America, with the show ultimately ending in Bolivia. According to Steindorff, this choice was made to keep the series’ firmly in line with Leerhsen’s biography on the notorious historical figure and to tell the story that “needs to be told.”
“Much of the book and the adventures of The Sundance Kid (Cassidy’s partner Harry Longabaugh) and the ‘Wild Bunch’ gang takes place in South America. During that time period, Butch Cassidy and his gang were more well-known there than in North America. This isn’t just an American Western story, but a Latin American story, and it needs to be told. There are so many aspects of this story that will excite the audiences of today.”
For all you fans of the 1969 Paul Newman and Robert Redford adaptation of the Butch Cassidy story who might be feeling a bit nervous about the upcoming series, rest assured it seems to be in very capable hands. Currently, Stone Village is working on both HBO’s Station Eleven series as well as a television adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Furthermore, author Leerhsen has stated he believes Steindorff is “uniquely qualified to explore the Butch Cassidy story as a TV series” based on him being a lifelong fan of the story as well as a one of Paul Newman’s friends.
“He’s been a lifelong fan of the movie and was a colleague and friend to Paul Newman, who to many people is Butch. But beyond that he is as excited as I was to discover that the movie, as great as it was, left out some of the most intriguing parts of Butch and Sundance’s great adventure. Scott is drawn to the fact that there’s so much untapped drama and romance in the true tale — as well as a mind-blowing finale that the Hollywood of 50-something years ago felt it just couldn’t handle. He’s as at-home with my book and its characters as Butch Cassidy was on the Outlaw Trail.”