Taylor Kitsch and Peter Berg Are Working On A Western For Netflix

Taylor Kitsch is heading back to the American West for a limited series for Netflix.

The Waco star will headline American Primeval, which comes from Pete Berg, who he worked with on Friday Night Lights, Eric Newman (The Watcher) and Mark L. Smith (The Revenant).

American Primeval is an exploration of the birth of the American West. It will follow the “violent” collisions of cultures, religions and communities as men and women fight and die for control of this new world – for a land they truly believe is their destiny.

Kitsch will play Isaac, a traumatized man struggling to overcome his demons and find a reason to live in this brutal and punishing world.

The six-part series is the latest collaboration between Berg, Newman and Kitsch, who are behind upcoming Netflix limited series Painkiller, which launches next year.

Peter White, Deadline

There are so many good things in this headline I don’t know where to start. For fans of the Friday Night Lights series this should be reverbed guitar music to your ears. Taylor Kitsch played one of the most iconic TV characters of an era in Tim Riggins from 2006-2011. That show, run by Peter Berg, was of course based on the film of the same name which was a game changer in how sports content was produced. Seriously, look at any Nike or Under Armour commercial after 2004 and everything from the music, cinematography, and editing are all FNL knockoffs. Seeing Kitsch and Berg back together for a western just makes too much sense.

Let’s start with Berg. I feel like he is criminally underrated when it comes to go-to creators in the business. His work as a director, writer, and producer is loaded with amazing content in both film and TV. As a feature film director his credits include Friday Night Lights, Kingdom of Heaven, Lone Survivor, and Deepwater Horizon among others. His last five feature films have all starred Mark Wahlberg with mixed, but mainly positive, results so its cool to see him going back to the Dillon Panthers well to work with Kitsch. His TV work, in addition to FNL, includes Ballers, The Leftovers, and ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. Digging through his IMDb page its obvious that he’s had some stinkers but it’s also jarring just exactly how much this guy has made in the last 20 years or so. He’s clearly a blockbuster filmmaker but he’s certainly no gun for hire. Berg’s work always seems to have a trademark style that attracts top talent looking to have some fun. He doesn’t feel like a guy who works just to work, you can tell he’s greatly interested in almost every subject matter he tackles. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen anything great from him but a project like this feels like its right up his alley.

Taylor Kitsch has also had an interesting career. Outside of Michael B. Jordan and Jesse Plemons he’s been given the most opportunities among the younger cast on FNL though it’s been a mixed bag of results. After hanging up the boots on playing Tim Riggins he had a back-to-back-to-back disappointments in 2012 with John Carter, Battleship (also a Berg movie), and Savages. So his film career as a leading man got off to a rough start though he recovered with a prominent supporting role alongside Mark Wahlberg in Lone Survivor. 2015 was also a tough look after the second season of True Detective flamed out in horrific fashion and at that point his stock was fairly low. Since then he’s spent most of his time in TV, most notably in 2018’s Waco where he was incredible as David Koresh. I think at this point in his career he’s shaken off the Tim Riggins teen-heart-throb label and has found a solid niche for himself in these action/dramas that I think should translate fairly well to the western genre. Outside of Waco I think its obvious he does his best work when he’s with Peter Berg so I think this is a tremendous casting decision.

Berg and Kitsch have another Netflix series coming out next year in Painkiller which explores the early days of the opioid epidemic. The series also stars Uzo Aduba and Matthew Broderick but if you ask me it just sounds like Netflix’s response to the success of Dopesick on Hulu. Again I trust Berg and I think he works well with Kitsch but I’ve already got my eyes on American Primeval. Again, Berg attracts a lot of top talent to his projects even if its not the best material. I’m not saying he’s gonna pull Daniel Day-Lewis out of retirement but I’d love to see him bring back some former collaborators like Ben Foster, Kyle Chandler, J.K. Simmons, or Jesse Plemons for something like this. My guess is we likely won’t being seeing anything from this series until 2024 at the earliest so let the waiting game begin.

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