April 24, 2007

Preview of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

HBO Films Presents an Epic Movie Event with Executive Producers Dick Wolf and Tom Thayer Based on Dee Brown's Best Seller 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee'HBO Films teams with executive producers Dick Wolf and Tom Thayer to present the epic film adaptation of Dee Brown's seminal nonfiction book BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE.

Scheduled to debut on HBO in May, the film powerfully explores the economic, political and social pressures that underpinned the opening of the American West and the tragic impact this expansion had on American Indian culture. The Wolf Entertainment/Traveler's Rest Films production is directed by Yves Simoneau ("Napoleon"), produced by Clara George ("United 93"), from a screenplay by Daniel Giat (HBO Films' "Path to War"), based on the book by Dee Alexander Brown.

The cast includes Aidan Quinn (HBO Films' "Empire Falls"), Adam Beach (Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers"), August Schellenberg ("The New World"), Colm Feore ("Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould"), J.K. Simmons (HBO's "Oz"), Wes Studi ("Comanche Moon"), with Fred Dalton Thompson ("Law & Order") and Anna Paquin (Academy Award(r) winner for "The Piano"). HBO Films vice president Sam Martin is the executive in charge of the production.
What's it about, exactly?Beginning just after the bloody Sioux victory over General Custer at Little Big Horn, BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE intertwines the unique perspectives of three characters: Charles Eastman (Beach), Ohiyesa, a young, Dartmouth-educated, Sioux doctor held up as living proof of the alleged success of assimilation; Sitting Bull (Schellenberg), the proud Lakota chief who refuses to submit to U.S. government policies designed to strip his people of their identity, their dignity and their sacred land - the gold-laden Black Hills of the Dakotas; and Senator Henry Dawes (Quinn), who was one of the architects of the government policy on Indian affairs.

While Eastman and patrician schoolteacher Elaine Goodale (Paquin) work to improve life for the Indians on the reservation, Senator Dawes lobbies President Grant (Thompson) for more humane treatment, opposing the bellicose stance of General William Tecumseh Sherman (Feore). Hope rises for the Indians in the form of the prophet Wovoka (Studi) and the Ghost Dance--a messianic movement that promises an end of their suffering under the white man. This hope is obliterated after the assassination of Sitting Bull and the massacre of hundreds of Indian men, women and children by the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee Creek on Dec. 29, 1890.

4 comments:

The Local Crank said...

I read a review of this in Cowboys & Indians and I'm a little disturbed at the apparently sympathetic portrait of Senator Henry Dawes.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
And of course there were no Mormons co-opting and transmogrifying Wovoka's vision, where 'Grandfather' evolved into 'God' and 'the whirlwind' evolved into 'Jesus Christ', thus precipitating attacks for perceived blasphemy on the otherwise peaceful Ghost Dancers. The attacks went on, finally culminating in the massacre of Hunkpapa, Miniconjou, and Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee, SD, a few days after Christmas, 1890.
Look Ma, no Mormons! All singing, all dancing! But no Mormons...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

It'll be interesting to see Adam Beach play the college-educated Eastman. I trust the show will contrast Eastman with the stoic chiefs and half-naked warriors who were his contemporaries.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Yes, indeed, the HBO previews show Adam Beach in a suit and a tie but no hat, as though he were in a modern boardroom about to be hired or fired by Donald Trump. Things in such a venue have not changed all that much, have they? But then the Sioux all die at Wounded Knee, treaty or no treaty, suit or no suit, deal or no deal. Not much has changed in that venue, either. Except historically to call it a 'battle'...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'