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The latest news on Skeet Ulrich! News is listed in order of most recent article first.

Into the West News

Congratulations to "Into the West" for its win of a 2005 Critics' Choice Award for Best Picture Made for Television!
Read all about it!

Into the West (mini-series) - Spielberg's TNT Epic Comes to DVD in October
Posted by David Lambert
8/05/2005

The opening of the American West is given epic treatment in Turner Network Television (TNT)'s 12-hour original limited series Into the West, produced by TNT in association with DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg. This dramatic tale of the adventurous exploration of the American wilderness, the clash of two cultures, the rush to riches in a new land and the building of a new civilization features a starring cast headed by Matthew Settle (U-571, Band of Brothers); Skeet Ulrich (Miracles, As Good as It Gets); Michael Spears (Dances with Wolves, TNT's Broken Chain); Tonantzin Carmelo (King Rikki, 187 Shadow Lane); George Leach (DreamKeeper, After the Harvest); and Zahn McClarnon (TNT's Crazy Horse and Cooperstown).

Shot in Calgary and New Mexico, Into the West aired on TNT this past June. The mini-series follows two multi-generational families, one settlers and the other Native American, each telling the dramatic stories of the development of the West from their distinct points of view. One family is the Wheeler clan, a Virginia family of wheelwrights making their trek westward. The other family is a plains Native American family hailing from the Lakota tribe. Throughout the series, the two families will experience the historical and cultural events that led to an epic clash of culture, often coming in contact with notable figures and events from the era.

The entire mini-series comes to DVD on October 4th, in a 4-disc set that will go for $49.99 SRP. Video is in anamorphic widescreen, and sound is both in Dolby Surround 5.1 and Dolby Stereo 2.0. The English soundtracks are supplemented with English, French, and Spanish soundtracks. Extras, if any, have not been announced yet. But we do have cover art!

Read the Original Article.

If you would like to Preorder this DVD, visit the following link: Preorder Into the West

(This is another article that went under the radar until now. I didn't want visitors to miss it, so it has been posted here instead of in its regular chronological order.)

June 6, 2005
TV CLOSE-UP
Skeet Ulrich
By Eirik Knutzen

When Skeet Ulrich was a mere lad, his uncle - famed NASCAR race driver Ricky Rudd - gave him a piece of fatherly advice: "Never try and become an actor." He considered his mother's brother a very smart and practical man - and became an actor.

But those words of caution rang in Ulrich's ears when he reported for work on location for the $100 million limited series "Into the West" at a frozen river on the outskirts of Calgary, Alberta, shortly before Christmas. He was particularly alarmed when he spotted a medical doctor toying with a defibrillator just off-camera.

It did not bode well, according to the skinny, 35-year-old actor (who survived open-heart surgery when he was a child), who inspected a warming tent and dozens of heated blankets before preparing himself for a bitter fight scene in the middle of the river as several production crew members chopped a huge hole in the ice for him with long-handled axes.

In the 12-hour, six-week project - chronicling the westward migration of white settlers and their deadly clashes with Native Americans between 1925 and 1890 - produced by TNT in association with DreamWorks Television and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Ulrich portrays Jethro Wheeler, a Virginia gentleman who follows several siblings on the dangerous trail to a gold strike in California.

Believing that his brother Jacob is dead somewhere in the vast wilderness, Jethro takes on the extra responsibilities of caring for the man's widow and children. But ultimately hunger, desperation and greed leads to a deadly confrontation with a distant relative over potentially vast riches. Hence, the bearded actor wound up on the riverbank ready to plunge between ice floes for his close-ups.

"We did the fight scene in three takes," said Ulrich, his teeth still seemingly chattering. "Each time, I was actually in the water from five to seven minutes before emerging as several guys were throwing layer after layer of blankets on top of me. Typically, when the temperature isn't extremely cold, they'll have a hot tub waiting for you. But in freezing conditions like this, going from hot to cold again is dangerous and can lead to hypothermia. I've never been that cold in my life."

But, as the production company's insurance company undoubtedly had already calculated, Ulrich survived along with the cast of hundreds to tell the dramatic tale of settling the Old West from distinct points of view of two multi-generational families - one a Native American family of the Lakota tribe; the other the Wheeler clan, an extended white family of wheelwrights. On the infinite plains, members of the two groups meet, then learn to love and hate each other. Paying close attention to historical accuracy, head writer William Mastrosimone forged the sweeping saga for six directors, including Simon Wincer, Robert Dornhelm and Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, and an enormous cast featuring Matthew Settle (Jacob Wheeler), Michael Spears, Tonantzin Carmelo, George Leach, Zahn McClarnon, Sean Astin, Tom Berenger, Beau Bridges, Gary Busey, Jessica Capshaw, Keith Carradine, Graham Greene, Lance Henriksen, Keri Russell, Matthew Modine, Russell Means, Wes Studi and Judge Reinhold.

When he wasn't drowning or freezing to death, Ulrich had his internal organs rearranged by fighting a team of spirited horses pulling his Conestoga wagon devoid of springs and shock absorbers.

"Research told me that in the pioneer days, the settlers would hang a bucket of cream on the back of their wagons and by the end of the day it had turned into butter by the natural churning of the rough trail," he explained. "Obviously, it knocked you around quite a bit, too."

Though not one to complain, Ulrich readily admits it was a really tough shoot.

"It certainly wasn't a glamorous job," he said, laughing. "Not only did we spend eight to 10 hours a day in the wagons, we also had to brave the elements - extreme heat to frost. On the days we needed rain and it didn't come naturally, they would pump icy water out of glacier-fed rivers and blow and spray it all over us."

Already a fair horseman, he became an expert in the art of riding after a three-week crash course before the cameras rolled on "Into the West."

"I'm no wrangler and don't do a whole lot of riding in the project, but I could handle anything. It's a blast to play cowboys and Indians - which is essentially what we were doing. And I grew fond of several of the horses, but there were no tearful goodbyes."

Every two weeks, he flew home to his 452-acre farm in Virginia to perform chores for his own animals and keep pace with his little twins - one of each - with actress Georgina Cates. "It was great during the two years I took off to be there from the beginning with the kids, but when I went back to work it started to get away from me," he explained. "It finally became too big and we had to sell it."

A recent divorce also helped seal the farm's fate, according the native of Lynchburg, Va. "Home is in Los Angeles now and we share custody of these amazing creatures. The most exciting thing in the world is shaping their lives."

© Copley News Service

Visit Copley News Service at www.copleynews.com.

Read the Original Article.

(This article is actually slightly older than the one before it, but it did not come to my attention until after that one. I didn't want anyone to overlook it because of that, so I've listed it here. - Laurel)

Skeet Ulrich
Monday, June 06, 2005

Actor Skeet Ulrich plays a man with good intentions but a weak will who sets out for a new life in California, leaving the family's wheel-making business behind on the East Coast. Telling the story of the American West through the eyes of American Indians as well as the pioneers is executive producer Steven Spielberg, in a dramatic mini-series for TNT, "Into the West." As Jethro Wheeler, the younger brother of the story's hero, Jacob, Ulrich gives a nuanced performance as he confronts his own jealousy and perceived inadequacies. "Into the West" begins Friday at 8 p.m.

Your character leaves the East for the West. Didn't you kind of do that with your acting career?

Yeah. I think it's a parallel that I saw instantly. Yeah, you're dead on. So it didn't escape my attention.

Well, at least when you went West, you stayed away from whatever your character was drinking right?

(Laughing) That's debatable, but yeah that was gut rot [that the character drank]. What they were drinking was much different, but that's a sort of an interesting demise -- the whole arc of that character.

Are you content with your acting career?

Ah no, no. I never have been, but not necessarily to do with box office. It's more craft-oriented kind of stuff, that sort of keeps me wanting to be better and do better. So no.

Are tormented characters easier to play?

It depends on the writing, honestly. In "Into the West," it was all there. It was on the page, and you just sort of try to bring as much to it as you can and fill it up. I sort of saw him as Raskolnikov meets Willy Lohman, and that kept me really fascinated with him and filling in blanks. But really, the scripts kind of dictate for you, and this one was full. The challenge is hard, but you don't have to make up as much with scripts that are full.

When fame first hit, did you find it necessary to develop a cover personality?

I don't know. It's interesting to look back at it. I didn't sort of feel that way at the time, but I think I must have put on an extra skin, you know, a little bit. But I don't think I was any different than any mid-20s person trying to find their own way. It's just that everybody's watching. Well, not everybody, but, you know, a lot of people.

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of your career choice?

The down time, honestly. It's not unlike coming off the stage in New York and literally you have such an adrenaline rush and then you have to wait 12 hours. So it's like a larger, extended version of that. You know it's tough to stop your head once you get involved in this stuff and step away from it. Especially a story like this, which is so beautiful and intricate and really sort of retells history to some extent. I certainly wasn't taught this history, and I really do believe it's an American holocaust that has kind of been glanced over. Hopefully we can sort of give the Native Americans their due.

After you became an actor did your social life change? Were women chasing you?

(Laughing) I wish. No, not really. I think "Scream" came out at the beginning of '97, and I met somebody in March and was married in October, so I didn't really have ... I didn't really allow it, I guess. I didn't get any of that!

That was quick, and are you still married?

Yes. Until six months ago.

Did fame and riches fuel your desire to act?

I don't know. I sort of revisited it again a couple of years ago when I took time off and my kids were born. I was away from the business for close to two years, and I sort of felt it all again. You know, why I originally got interested in it -- basically I am not a great communicator in life in terms of what's going on in my head and how I feel about things. So it's kind of a way, through metaphor, to say those things. It's what drew me to it -- other people's voices saying what I wish I could say.

Read the Original Article.

Monday, June 13, 2005

10 Million Viewers Hitch Their Wagons to TNT's INTO THE WEST on Premiere Night
Released by TNT

Six-Week Television Event, from DreamWorks Television and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, Leads TNT to Friday Win over ABC, CBS, FOX, UPN and The WB

TNT's six-week television event INTO THE WEST, from DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg, got off to an extraordinary start Friday, June 10, when the 8 p.m. premiere installment and 10 p.m. telecast delivered nearly 10 million viewers, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

"Right out of the starting gate, TNT's INTO THE WEST is proving itself to be the television event of the summer," said Steve Koonin, executive vice president and chief operating officer for TNT and sister network TBS. "We are very proud that viewers are responding so favorably to this dramatic tale and that our strategy of offering multiple telecasts each weekend is already paying off in such a big way."

The following are the ratings highlights for Friday, June 10, the first night of TNT's INTO THE WEST:
- The 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. telecasts of the first installment, "Wheel to the Stars," combined to deliver 9,593,000 persons 2+.
- During broadcast prime for the night, TNT outperformed ABC, CBS, FOX, UPN and The WB among persons 2+, households and adults 25-54.
- The 8 p.m. premiere scored a 4.0 U.S. (4.9 coverage) household rating, representing more than 4.4 million households. It ranks as cable's #1 entertainment program (excluding sports and news) for the year to date in delivery of households and persons 2+.
- The 8 p.m. telecast was cable's #1 program for the night among persons 2+ (6,474,000), households (4,432,000), adults 18-49 (1,830,000), adults 25-54 (2,449,000) and all targeted male and female demographics. The 10 p.m. telecast, which delivered 3,119,000 persons 2+, ranked second for the night among adults 18-49 (1,174,000) and 25-54 (1,579,000).
- The premiere telecast outdelivered such recent summer broadcast premieres as ABC's The Scholar, NBC's Psychic Detectives, FOX's The Inside, UPN's Britney & Kevin: Chaotic and The WB's Beauty & the Geek among persons 2+.
- The 8 p.m. premiere outdelivered Sci-Fi's December 2002 premiere of Taken among persons 2+ and households. It also outdelivered TNT's own July 2004 premiere of The Grid among persons 2+, households, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54.

TNT's INTO THE WEST tells the story of the opening of the American West, a dramatic, personal tale of the adventurous exploration of the American wilderness, the clash of two cultures, the rush to riches in a new land and the building of a new civilization. This landmark production is co-executive-produced by Darryl Frank (Taken, Las Vegas) and Justin Falvey (Las Vegas), co-heads of DreamWorks Television, and William Mastrosimone (Sinatra, The Burning Season), who also wrote the overall story for the series and the scripts for three of its installments. David A. Rosemont, executive producer of TNT's Purgatory and Emmy-winning Door to Door, serves as producer for the project, and Kirk Ellis (Anne Frank) is the supervising producer.

The project features an enormous cast headed by Matthew Settle (U-571, Band of Brothers); Skeet Ulrich (Miracles, As Good as It Gets); Michael Spears (Dances with Wolves, TNT's Broken Chain); Tonantzin Carmelo (King Rikki, 187 Shadow Lane); George Leach (DreamKeeper, After the Harvest); and Zahn McClarnon (TNT's Crazy Horse and Cooperstown). Each two-hour episode will be featured in a three-play weekend, airing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).

Turner Network Television (TNT), television's destination for drama and one of cable's top-rated networks, offers original movies and limited series, including Into the West, an epic six-week television event from DreamWorks Television and master storyteller and executive producer Steven Spielberg; original recurring series, including the detective drama The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick, and the crime thriller Wanted, with Gary Cole; powerful one-hour dramas, such as Law & Order, Without a Trace, ER, NYPD Blue, Charmed, Judging Amy and Angel, with Alias joining the line-up in September; broadcast premiere movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is also available in high-definition.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and a leading provider of programming for the television industry.

Source: Turner Research from Nielsen Media Research data. Prime time is M-Su 8-11pm. Total Day reflects total programming hours for each network as reported by Nielsen. The following networks do not program the entire M-Su 6a-6a daypart: A&E, ABC Fam, Bio, CMDY, CNBC, Court TV, Discovery, ENT, FX, FOOD, GAME, HIST, HGTV, Lifetime, NAN, NGC, NICK, OXY, HALL, TLC,TSOU, WE, WGN and SPIKE. All ratings based on Total U.S. Television Universe of 109,600,000 homes. Movie rankings include all ad-supported program telecasts coded as feature films in Nielsen Media Research systems. (Data for Sunday 3 a.m.-6 a.m. not yet available.)

Read the Original Article

BBC takes latest Spielberg drama

The BBC has secured UK broadcast rights for Steven Spielberg's Into The West, a (6x90') historical drama mini-series that premiered in the US last week.

Produced by Turner Network Television (TNT) together with DreamWorks Television, Into The West tells the tale of two families - one pioneers, the other plains-dwelling Native Americans - as their cultures clash in the years from 1825 to 1892.

Spielberg is executive producer on the series, which debuted on TNT last Friday and will air on BBC2 some time next year, building on the channel's previous dramas taken from DreamWorks - Band of Brother and Taken.

George McGhee, BBC controller of programme acquisitions, said of the deal: "The scale and investment in this magnificent epic is something that we could not reproduce on the BBC, and we are delighted to be able to give viewers the chance to see it in the UK."

Into The West stars Matthew Settle, Tonantizin Carmelo, Skeet Ulrich, Beau Bridges, Josh Brolin, Keri Russell, Sean Astin and Gary Busey.

Jonathan Webdale
13 Jun 2005
© C21 Media 2005

Read the Original Article

Historical 'Into West' puts Ulrich tall in saddle
Sunday, June 12, 2005
BY LI WANG Of The Patriot-News

Smoking a cigarette outside the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia, Skeet Ulrich has a sharp face distinguished enough to be recognized, but hard to pin down where you've seen him. The 35-year-old Ulrich is perhaps best known for his parts in "Scream" and "As Good As It Gets," but his career in Hollywood hasn't made him a household name.

But all that might change depending on the success of TNT and DreamWorks Television's six-part Western mini-series, "Into the West," which debuted Friday (with a replay at 8 tonight on TNT).

The show has received much hype because of its executive producer -- Steven Spielberg. He has called the events covered in the series as "one of the most dramatic periods in American history. We're painting this on a huge canvas in order to tell a story that explores the Gold Rush, the transcontinental railroad, the wild West and the Indian wars leading to the tragedy at Wounded Knee."

Ulrich plays Jethro Wheeler, a frontiersman who hears the beckoning call of the Gold Rush and is thrust into a heroic role.

"I really think it's one of the first realistic depictions of what when on during this mass migration," Ulrich said of the miniseries, which parallels the lives of a Lakota Indian family and a Virginia wheelwright family. "The story doesn't paint everything in black and white and have it clear who the good guys and bad guys are."

Raised in North Carolina, Ulrich was pegged early as an up-and-coming star of young Hollywood. While attending New York University he was invited to join Atlantic Theatre Company (started by David Mamet and William H. Macy) as an apprentice. In 1996, Ulrich was cast opposite Winona Ryder in "Boys." He went on to star in "The Craft," "Last Dance," "Albino Alligator" and most notably in the horror hit "Scream" opposite Neve Campbell. Soon he was being compared to Johnny Depp.

But things started to slow after Ulrich's role was cut to a smaller part in the James L. Brooks comedy "As Good As It Gets," which also starred Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. His 1998 and 1999 movies, Richard Linklater's "Newton Boys" and thriller "Chill Factor," did not catch fire with audiences.

Now Ulrich is hoping to capture the water cooler talk crown in TNT's $50 million miniseries. The network spent a stunning $50 million to promote the show. TNT also is sending out 18,000 packets of DVDs and teaching materials to schools across the nation for use in the fall semester.

The cast includes such stars as Sean Astin, Kerri Russell, Gary Busey and Balthazar Getty. If "Into the West" meets expectations, Ulrich could land back on the magazines' cool lists.

"I have an opportunity to do a great story. It's not a proud thing for white, corporate America to get behind when you really look at the content," said Ulrich. "I look at the massacre of the Indians as America's Holocaust in the sense that it's an attempted annihilation of a culture. The series also speaks to the survivability of man in general and American culture, and how they've been able to stay strong."

The nature of Ulrich's character Jethro emerges in episode 3, "Dreams and Schemes," directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, one of six directors who helm each two-hour episode.

"It's like making three independent films," said Ulrich, who appears in the first three episodes. "Each director knows what he wants to do, so it's your job to make it blend all together."

To recreate the settings authentically, "Into the West" was shot in Calgary, Canada, and New Mexico under harsh conditions sometimes.

"The first three episodes were done in Calgary and it was so cold that they'd chip the ice off the river so that I could get into it. It was brutal, and I had to lose 15 pounds for the third one. That didn't help with battling the cold," said Ulrich. "But it sort of hinted at what these people dealt with. We're such a remote-control society. I think these frontiersmen's animal instincts had to surface. You had to get your own food, find shelter. You've got to survive."

Apart from gaining respect for the lives of the early settlers, Ulrich said he's grateful to be part of such a monumental project, both as a commercial television product and as an educational aid.

"Like many Americans, I wasn't taught this history in school," said Ulrich. "We talked about Manifest Destiny, but it didn't touch upon that being tied to the removal of Native Americans. I was honored to tell this story and have some part in making it happen."

LI WANG: 255-8168 or lwang@patriot-news.com

Read the Original Article.

TV PREVIEW: Ulrich learns how the West was really won

Actor Skeet Ulrich stars in the TNT mini-series "Into the West," beginning tonight. (LISA HORNAK/For The Patriot Ledger )

By AL ALEXANDER
The Patriot Ledger


Having already crafted the definitive Holocaust movie with the Oscar-winning ‘‘Schindler's List,'' Steven Spielberg is now attempting to do the same for Native Americans in his six-part TNT miniseries, ‘‘Into the West.''

What's most impressive about the series, which begins at 8 tonight and will air each of the next five Fridays, is its evenhandedness in telling a story that finds fault not just with the white man, but the Indians themselves, who played an unwitting part in their own genocide.

Covering the final 75 years of the 19th century, ‘‘Into the West'' is ambitious in size and scope, perhaps too ambitious. Running the gamut from wrenching to cliché, it ultimately succeeds on the strength of its star-studded cast.

Among the more than three dozen stars is Skeet Ulrich, the 35-year-old actor best known for his brief but memorable scenes in ‘‘Scream'' and ‘‘As Good as It Gets.'' In ‘‘West,'' he plays the youngest of three Virginia-bred brothers who leave their father's wheelwrighting business to head for points west in the early 1800s.

Like a family of Forrest Gumps, the three Wheeler brothers and their offspring walk us through nearly eight decades of often unflattering U.S. history. And through much of it the Wheeler clan faces a series of calamities, many of which befall Ulrich's Jethro, including a bout of cholera, Indian attacks and a near drowning.

That was nothing, though, compared to the grueling six-month shoot that took place last year in the wilderness of Alberta, Canada.

On a recent visit to Boston, Ulrich admitted it was a challenge, but he wouldn't have changed a minute of it.

‘‘I think it's an amazing experience to tell this story ... to do the American holocaust justice,'' he said. ‘‘Nobody is better than Spielberg at telling the truth and weaving a good story in the midst of it.''

As the executive producer, Spielberg didn't have a direct involvement in writing or directing the six, two-hour episodes. But Ulrich says that doesn't mean he wasn't always on the set in spirit.

‘‘He had a godfather-like presence,'' said Ulrich, looking very un-Hollywood in his T-shirt and jeans. ‘‘You always heard back about the previous day's work ... what he thought of the rushes, what he thought of the script.''

Spielberg also personally cast each of the dozens of actors, from Emmy-winners like Beau Bridges to virtual unknowns like Matthew Settle, who landed the lead role of Jacob Wheeler.

That he was among the chosen ones proved a huge thrill for Ulrich. But that was nothing compared to having his eyes opened to an American tragedy long ignored by the history books.

‘‘Everything to do with the Native American side was not taught to me in school,'' Ulrich said while relaxing in his suite at the Ritz-Carlton Boston. ‘‘The Manifest Destiny, as I remember it, seemed to be a positive thing as the teachers explained it to us. They didn't at all get into the fact that Christianity was saying ‘wipe out everything in the way.' And I don't ever remember reading about the Indian Removal Act. So everything (in the miniseries) was kind of new to me.''

And what did he think of what he gleaned from the script?

‘‘I'm kind of ashamed, to be quite honest; it's not a pretty picture,'' he said of the way the West was won. ‘‘We have a continuing problem with that (mind set) as Americans - as white Americans, certainly - in relation to this story.''

On a more positive note, Ulrich said he enjoyed the chance to reunite with Keri Russell, who played his arranged wife in February's hugely popular Hallmark Hall of Fame flick, ‘‘The Magic of Ordinary Days.''

In ‘‘Into the West,'' the former ‘‘Felicity'' star plays his cousin, Rachel, a young woman who is captured by Indians and becomes the property of a strong but sensitive brave she eventually falls for and starts a family with.

‘‘She's a rarity,'' Ulrich says of his two-time costar. ‘‘She's very levelheaded and uncomplicated in terms of a working environment.''

He said she added to his comfort on the ‘‘Into the West'' set, as did his firsthand knowledge of the 19th-century lifestyle.

‘‘I lived for five years in a house built in 1850,'' says the native Virginian, a nephew of NASCAR star Ricky Rudd. ‘‘Some days I'd wake up and it would be 18 degrees in the house. No heat, no air conditioning, no insulation ... and I chopped my own wood, 12 to 13 cords each winter.

‘‘The first year it was really romantic. The second year it was a real (expletive). Then the third year I was done, I was fed up with it,'' Ulrich said. ‘‘I think our animal instincts were so much more at the surface at that time in history. To have to forage for your food, to have to provide your own shelter, I don't think it's something a lot of us could handle in the age of creature comforts.''

If anyone could handle it, it might be Ulrich, who has overcome major obstacles in his young life, including his father splitting when he was 3 and open-heart surgery when he was 10. He's convinced, though, that those hard knocks have made him more attuned to his craft.

‘‘I think it's the whole reason I act,'' said Ulrich, who has already had the pleasure of working with such A-list directors as Bruce Beresford, Ang Lee, James L. Brooks and Paul Schrader.

‘‘David Mamet was my teacher in college and he said ‘If you didn't want to be a good actor you should have had a good childhood.' I think that's pretty true. You find that a lot in my business. A lot of people had a tough upbringing.''

He said that edge helped him immensely in weathering the intense ‘‘Into the West'' shoot, a physically demanding endeavor that at one point required him to dip his body into a freezing cold river in Alberta.

‘‘It was about 25 below out,'' said Ulrich, who can now smile about the incident. ‘‘They would break holes in the ice for me to get in the river. And I remember walking down to the set and they had defibrillators by the camera. And I went oh, (expletive). What have I gotten into? It was scary.''

So, did his heart stop?

‘‘No, but it did at that moment.''

INTO THE WEST
Six-part miniseries on TNT, at 8 p.m. tonight 6/10 and the next five Fridays.

Copyright 2005 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Friday, June 10, 2005

Read the Original Article.

Skeet shooting for 110 percent in TNT miniseries
By Inside Track
Thursday, June 9, 2005 - Updated: 03:07 AM EST

Bad-boy actor Skeet Ulrich may be starring in Hollywood heavy Steven Spielberg's TNT miniseries, "Into the West," but he's never laid eyes on the uber-director.

"He would call in every day to check in and relay what he wanted done," Ulrich told the Track. "He ultimately had the final say, of course."

Of course. Because he's Spielberg. And the producer, although not the director, of the miniseries.

"Just knowing that I was working for him made me want to work the extra 10 percent," said Skeet. "You knew he was watching somehow, sort of omnipresent."

Whoa. Scary.

Ulrich said he could relate to his "Into the West" character, Jethro Wheeler, in the early part of the miniseries since both are woodworkers from Virginia.

But as the six-week series develops and Jethro's persona darkens, Skeet says that's where he and the woodworking Wheeler parted ways!

"The third episode takes the series to a darker, more intimate tale," Ulrich told the Track.

The miniseries follows the intertwining stories of the Wheeler family, white settlers in the West, and the Lakota Tribe.

Although the series takes place in the rugged American West, Ulrich says it's not a "western," per se.

"It's primarily a period piece," he said. "It's more about the annihilation of the Native American culture and the assimilation of the two cultures."

Like when Jethro marries his brother's Lakota-born wife when it's presumed Jacob Wheeler is dead?

Grinning, Skeet admitted that "Into The West" is "not necessarily a Shakespearean tale."

The series debuts at 8 p.m. tomorrow with a two-hour episode.

Read the Original Article.

The following article is part of a site that requires a (free) subscription. Therefore, I will not print it in full, just Skeet's part.

Incredibly, TNT has since spent $50 million more to promote the mini-series, including movie-house promos, incessant ads during the channel's NBA playoff games, and a mammoth billboard that has loomed over Manhattan's Times Square for the last two months. It's also sending cast members to selected cities to beat the drum for Into the West.

Skeet Ulrich, who plays Jethro Wheeler, one of the central characters, drew Philadelphia.

On a balmy afternoon as chattering clusters of Hallahan High girls stream by, he sits on a bench off the Parkway, recounting the five months he toiled in Calgary to make the first three episodes.

Panning for gold meant a good deal of time in the water. "I was in four different rivers," he says. His climactic sequence was shot in December.

"It was 25 below. They would break ice off this river for me to get in and shoot. It was brutal. They had defibrillators waiting on the bank. I have never been that cold in my life and hope to never be that cold again."

Read the full Original Article.

June 8, 2005
Skeet shoots the breeze

Skeet Ulrich says that playing a frontiersman in the upcoming TNT mini-series "Into the West," has made him more sensitive to the plight of Native Americans.

Ulrich, who starred in "Scream," wore a shirt with a picture of four Native Americans and the caption, "Homeland Security: Fighting Terrorism Since 1492," recently while doing interviews at the Four Seasons. The six-week series, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, premieres at 8 p.m Friday.

Ulrich, who is not related to Metallica's Lars Ulrich, says it's annoying to have his looks constantly compared to actor Johnny Depp, but he likes Depp's work.

Read the Original Article (requires a free subscription).

Be sure to visit Steven Spielberg Films for an "Into the West" contest! The prize package includes an autographed poster, a t-shirt, and a series episode guide!

June 7, 2005
Stars turn out for 'West' premiere

New York, NY, Jun. 7 (UPI) -- Josh Brolin, Keri Russell, Matthew Settle, Rachel Leigh Cook and Skeet Ulrich were on hand at the New York premiere of the epic miniseries, "Into the West."

A collaboration of Turner Network Television and DreamWorks Television, "Into the West" is a 6-week-long series that tells the story of the opening of the American West from the points of view of both pioneers and Americans Indians.

Monday's premiere took place at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan where the stars and other guests enjoyed cocktails in the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians, then viewed the first episode of the series in the museum's Lefrak Theater and were treated to dinner in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.

The first episode of the series is to debut Friday on TNT.

Read the Original Article.

Current Reviews:

Sun Sentinel Review

TNT Goes 'Into the West'
(Sunday, June 05 12:06 AM)
By Jay Bobbin (jbobbin@zap2it.com

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - The American West usually is too big a subject for an entertainment project to cover completely.

In the case of a new miniseries executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, it takes six two-hour films by separate directors to span the region's history from 1825 to 1890. TNT's miniseries "Into the West" begins a weekly Friday run June 10, mirroring pivotal 19th-century events - from the Gold Rush and the establishment of the Transcontinental Railroad to the massacre at Wounded Knee - through the experiences of two families, one from Virginia and the other from the Lakota tribe.

The clans are linked by the marriage of Jacob Wheeler (Matthew Settle) to Thunder Heart Woman (Tonantzin Carmelo). Many subsequent challenges put their respective families and nations to environmental and human tests. Directors including Simon Wincer ("Lonesome Dove") and Timothy Van Patten ("The Sopranos") filmed the scripts, three of which were written by playwright William Mastrosimone ("Bang Bang You're Dead").

Other prominent members of the huge "Into the West" cast include Keri Russell, Skeet Ulrich, Beau Bridges, Gary Busey, Josh Brolin, Graham Greene, Irene Bedard, Tom Berenger, Keith Carradine, Rachael Leigh Cook, Jessica Capshaw, Balthazar Getty, Wes Studi, Lance Henriksen, Judge Reinhold, Craig Sheffer ("One Tree Hill") and Tyler Christopher ("General Hospital"). Russell is a star of the second episode, which details the travails of a wagon train headed west. Her character is kidnapped by Cheyenne warriors and wed to one of them, and Russell says she "did a lot of reading" to prepare for the role.

"The coolest things were these women's journals written along the trail, really well-documented, very personal stories," she says. "The sheer physicality of what they went through seemed so impossible to me. It was hard just shooting out there. Wind, snow, rain ... we had everything."

A big bonus "Into the West" gave Russell was a crash course in horse riding. "It's by far the most fun thing I've ever done," she says. "I went [to Calgary, Canada] about two weeks prior to shooting, and I just rode all day. Being in that part of that country is, to me, heaven. It's a beautiful area, still kind of undeveloped. That's one of the best things about making a Western; you're not shooting on a soundstage, you're really out there."

"Into the West" not only returned Russell to the location of her recent Hallmark Hall of Fame film, "The Magic of Ordinary Days," but also to Ulrich, her co-star in that project as well. In the first three "West" stories, he plays Jacob's brother, Jethro.

"I was less intrigued by the genre and more intrigued by the history," Ulrich says, "and the telling of a tale that hasn't been told, to my knowledge, which is the American Holocaust. I was fascinated, and lucky, to be a part of it."

Ulrich also is curious to see the final installments of "Into the West," being familiar only with the trio he's in. "It really does hit a lot of points," he says of the miniseries. "You bump into a lot of characters, and some relate to the American work ethic to some extent. The heart of these people was unbelievable, to accomplish all they did, just in the migration west alone."

Read the Original Article

An excerpt from the following article:

Co-executive producer David Rosemont added that not only were Lakota actors trained in their native tongue, so were actors playing members of other tribal nations, such as Cheyenne and Crow. "We had translators on the set instructing the actors in those specific languages," he said. Compulsory education extended to the Anglo actors as well. Settle said that he and Skeet Ulrich, who plays his brother, Jethro Wheeler, had to go to school so they'd look credible forging and pounding the big, spoked wheels for covered wagons that their "Into the West" father manufactures.

The Newsday Article

June 3, 2005
Skeet made an appearance at the AMC Fenway in Boston, MA for a screening of Steven Spielberg's six-week miniseries "Into the West," which will premiere on TNT next weekend.

An Unsettled Frontier

Comcast, Turner host screening of TV series shot in NM

A very nice review of the mini-series:

Glory of classic genre goes 'Into the West' By Ron Wynn, rwynn@nashvillecitypaper.com

May 23, 2005
Only the real TV veterans can remember the days when Westerns dominated the landscape and such shows as Gunsmoke, Wagon Train and The Virginian were ratings behemoths. Now, outside of an occasional film and what's available on classic movie channels, Westerns are deemed relics. But Steven Spielberg's forthcoming new six-week series Into The West is a throwback to that era.

This is the largest single production ever undertaken by the network better known for reruns of classic dramatic shows and airing 40 NBA playoff games in 40 days. Spielberg will be examining such issues as the Gold Rush, the building of the transcontinental railroad, the expansion of the West and the various wars involving Native Americans. The series has been divided into six two-hour episodes, each to air at 7 p.m. Friday-Sunday beginning June 10.

The episodes cover the years 1825-1890, and chronicle the adventures of two multi-generational families. One is a group of settlers from Virginia heading west, the other a group from the Lakota tribe.

A prime thing differentiating this series from many past productions, which is quite evident in the first three episodes, is the complexity and richness of the characters and scenarios. Spielberg and his partners Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey and William Mastrosimone, as well as David A. Rosemont, haven't crafted yet another noble-savage-battling-insensitive-conquering-white-folks type of program. There are caring and cruel people on both sides, pragmatists and idealists, heroes and villains. The programs have moments of great beauty and horrific tragedy, heartwarming triumphs and gut-wrenching setbacks.

While much of the action takes place against major historical events, this isn't a documentary but a dramatization. Still, it is one of the most sensitive and marvelous treatments even devoted to the Western experience.

The debut episode "Wheel To The Stars" sets things up by depicting the marriage of Jacob Wheeler (Matthew Settle) to a Native American Thunder Heart Woman (Tonantzin Carmelo), and the beginning of a spiritual awakening in her tribe. The second episode "Manifest Destiny" follows the story of Jacob and his brother Jethro (Skeet Ulrich) heading a wagon train west and the obstacles they face. The third episode "Dreams & Schemes" follows the problems encountered by Jacob's children trying to make the adjustment to life in the West, while also showing the growing tension between whites and Native Americans.

The subsequent episodes will detail the ultimate wars, the discovery of gold in the sacred Black Hills region, the relocation of Native American children to off-reservation schools, and the events leading to the massacre at Wounded Knee.

Advisers on the program included Charlie White Buffalo, a Lakota studies professor at Oglala Lakota College; George P. Horse Capture, senior counselor to the director and special assistant for cultural relations at the National Museum of the American Indian; Kay-Karol-Horse Capture, specialist in ethnographic and material culture objects; Kerry Scott, a teaching assistant at the department of Native American Studies at the University of Letterbride; Robin Whortman, specialist in native economic development and corporate relations; and Joseph Marshall, author and native consultant for film and television.

The huge cast includes Michael Spears, George Leach, Zahn McClarnon and a host of top guest stars, among them Beau Bridges, Gary Busey, Will Patton, Jessica Capshaw, Keri Russell, Matthew Modine, Keith Carradine and Judge Reinhold.

Into The West will continue weekly through the weekend of July 22.

Read the Original Review

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
America Online and TNT Go INTO THE WEST
Released by TNT

America Online and TNT Go INTO THE WEST

Multi-Faceted Collaboration Includes Today’s World Premiere of Sarah McLachlan/Robbie Robertson Music Video "World on Fire," plus Trailer, Previews and Recaps Only on AOL.com

INTO THE WEST, from DreamWorks Television and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, To Premiere Friday, June 10, Exclusively on TNT

In an extensive on-air and online programming and promotional agreement, America Online and Turner Network Television (TNT) are teaming up to bring online consumers an array of video programming, not available anywhere else, surrounding TNT’s six-week television event INTO THE WEST, from DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg. This collaboration kicks off today with the world premiere of the "World on Fire" music video by Sarah McLachlan and Robbie Robertson on AOL Music’s First View at www.aolmusic.com. For this never-before-seen video, directed by Paul Fedor and featuring clips from INTO THE WEST, multi-platinum and Grammy-winning recording artist Sarah McLachlan re-recorded her chart-topping single as a duet with legendary songwriter Robbie Robertson. The premiere will be showcased as part of AOL Music’s popular First View franchise that debuts new music videos before they are seen anywhere else. INTO THE WEST will premiere Friday, June 10, exclusively on TNT.

Other video content includes an INTO THE WEST trailer, as well as weekly episode previews and recaps that can be seen via the AOL.com Web site at aol.com/television. In addition, as a sponsor of INTO THE WEST, AOL will receive numerous on-air mentions, pointing viewers to AOL to discover this online programming.

"As the drama network, it’s key that we find unique ways to connect with consumers emotionally in our marketing, and music is one of the best ways for us to do so," said Tom Carr, senior vice president of marketing for TNT. "By featuring the premiere of the ‘World on Fire’ music video on AOL.com, we are giving music fans an innovative platform through which to discover INTO THE WEST, while at the same time extending the reach of our marketing campaign."

Patricia Karpas, vice president and general manager, AOL Television added, "This collaboration between AOL and TNT surrounding INTO THE WEST draws upon our companies’ strengths to demonstrate how the television experience can be extended from on-air to online. And, the ‘World on Fire’ video premiere further shows the crossover between music and television, while leveraging AOL’s massive reach to bring this video to a large and engaged audience."

TNT’s INTO THE WEST tells the story of the opening of the American West, a dramatic, personal tale of the adventurous exploration of the American wilderness, the clash of two cultures, the rush to riches in a new land and the building of a new civilization. This landmark production is co-executive-produced by Darryl Frank (Taken, Las Vegas) and Justin Falvey (Las Vegas), co-heads of DreamWorks Television, and William Mastrosimone (Sinatra, The Burning Season), who also wrote the overall story for the series and the scripts for three of its installments. David A. Rosemont, executive producer of TNT’s Purgatory and Emmy-winning Door to Door, serves as producer for the project, and Kirk Ellis (Anne Frank) is the supervising producer.

The six-week television event features an enormous cast headed by Matthew Settle (U-571, Band of Brothers); Skeet Ulrich (Miracles, As Good as It Gets); Michael Spears (Dances with Wolves, TNT’s Broken Chain); Tonantzin Carmelo (King Rikki, 187 Shadow Lane); George Leach (DreamKeeper, After the Harvest); and Zahn McClarnon (TNT’s Crazy Horse and Cooperstown). Each two-hour episode will be featured in a three-play weekend, airing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).

America Online, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. Based in Dulles, Va., America Online is the world’s leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies and e-commerce services.

Turner Network Television (TNT), television’s destination for drama and one of cable’s top-rated networks, offers original movies and limited series, including Into the West, an epic six-week television event from DreamWorks Television and master storyteller and executive producer Steven Spielberg; original recurring series, including the detective drama The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick, and the crime thriller Wanted, with Gary Cole; powerful one-hour dramas, such as Law & Order, Without a Trace, ER, NYPD Blue, Charmed, Judging Amy and Angel; broadcast premiere movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is also available in high-definition.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and a leading provider of programming for the television industry.

Read the Original Article.

Sites that have been opened for "Into the West":

Into the West

TNT's Into the West

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
TNT Presents Dramatic Saga of the Opening of the American West in 12-Hour Epic Limited Series INTO THE WEST, From DreamWorks Television and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg
Released by TNT

TNT Presents Dramatic Saga of the Opening of the American West in 12-Hour Epic Limited Series INTO THE WEST, From DreamWorks Television and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg
Starring Sean Astin, Simon Baker, Irene Bedard, Tom Berenger, Beau Bridges, Josh Brolin, Gary Busey, Jessica Capshaw, Tonantzin Carmelo, Tyler Christopher, Rachael Leigh Cook, Balthazar Getty, Daniel Gillies, Graham Greene, Lance Henriksen, Christian Kane, George Leach, Zahn McClarnon, Russell Means, Matthew Modine, Will Patton, Tyler Posey, Francesco Quinn, Keri Russell, Matthew Settle, Michael Spears, Wes Studi, Jay Tavare, John Terry, Sheila Tousey Alan Tudyk and Skeet Ulrich

The story of the opening of the American West is given epic treatment in Turner Network Television (TNT)’s 12-hour original limited series INTO THE WEST, produced by TNT in association with DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg. This dramatic tale of the adventurous exploration of the American wilderness, the clash of two cultures, the rush to riches in a new land and the building of a new civilization features a starring cast headed by Matthew Settle (U-571, Band of Brothers); Skeet Ulrich (Miracles, As Good as It Gets); Michael Spears (Dances with Wolves, TNT’s Broken Chain); Tonantzin Carmelo (King Rikki, 187 Shadow Lane); George Leach (DreamKeeper, After the Harvest); and Zahn McClarnon (TNT’s Crazy Horse and Cooperstown).

Currently shooting in Calgary and New Mexico, INTO THE WEST is slated to premiere on TNT in Summer 2005. Darryl Frank (Taken, Las Vegas) and Justin Falvey (Las Vegas), co-heads of DreamWorks Television, serve as co-executive producers, along with William Mastrosimone (Sinatra, The Burning Season), who also wrote the overall story for the series and the scripts for three of its installments. INTO THE WEST is produced by David A. Rosemont, executive producer of TNT’s Purgatory and Emmy-winning Door to Door.

“INTO THE WEST is the most ambitious original production TNT has ever undertaken,” said Michael Wright, senior vice president of original programming for TNT. “Producing something of this size and complexity would be impossible without the amazing talents and passionate hard work of those who are bringing it to life. We are fortunate to have some of the most talented people in the industry working on what we believe will be the television event of the year.”

INTO THE WEST follows two multi-generational families, one settlers and the other Native American, each telling the dramatic stories of the development of the West from their distinct points of view. One family is the Wheeler clan, a Virginia family of wheelwrights making their trek westward. The other family is a plains Native American family hailing from the Lakota tribe. Throughout the series, the two families will experience the historical and cultural events that led to an epic clash of culture, often coming in contact with notable figures and events from the era.

Installments

Night one is directed by Robert Dornhelm (Anne Frank, Spartacus, Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story) from a script by William Mastrosimone. In addition to the main cast, it features Simon R. Baker (I, Robot, The Sweet Hereafter); Sean Blakemore (Keepin’ It Real, Woman Thou Art Loosed); Josh Brolin (Hollow Man, Mister Sterling); Gary Busey (Lethal Weapon, I’m With Busey); Will Patton (Armageddon, Remember the Titans); Francesco Quinn (Platoon, 24); Geno Silva (Amistad, Mullholland Drive); and Alan Tudyk (I, Robot, Firefly).

Night two is directed by Simon Wincer (Lonesome Dove, TNT’s Monte Walsh and Crossfire Trail) from a script by Cyrus Nowrasteh (The Day Reagan Was Shot) and story by William Mastrosimone. It features Beau Bridges (We Were the Mulvaneys, Without Warning: The James Brady Story); Jessica Capshaw (The Practice, Minority Report); Emily Holmes (TNT’s The Goodbye Girl, Paycheck); Robert Maloney (Panic in the Skies); Keri Russell (Felicity, We Were Soldiers, The Upside of Anger); and Jay Tavare (Cold Mountain, Executive Decision).

Night three is directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (Taken, Battlestar Galactica) from a script by Craig Storper (Open Range) and story by William Mastrosimone. It features Nathaniel Arcand (The Unknown, TNT’s Crazy Horse); Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings, 50 First Dates); Irene Bedard (TNT’s Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee, Two for Texas); Gil Birmingham (Skins, Body & Soul); Tyler Christopher (General Hospital, Out of the Black); Balthazar Getty (Ladder 49, Traffic); Rachael Leigh Cook (Josie and the Pussycats, She’s All That); Daniel Gillies (Spider-Man 2, Bride and Prejudice); Graham Greene (Dances with Wolves, TNT’s The Broken Chain); Christian Kane (Friday Night Lights, TNT’s Crossfire Trail); Russell Means (The Last of the Mohicans, Pocahontas); Matthew Modine (Le Divorce); Tyler Posey (Collateral Damage, Maid in Manhattan); John Terry (Full Metal Jacket, The Living Daylights); Sheila Tousey (Law & Order: SVU, Thunderheart).

Night four is directed by Michael W. Watkins (Boomtown, Las Vegas) from a script by Kirk Ellis (The Grass Harp) and story by William Mastrosimone. It features Rachael Leigh Cook, Christian Kane, Irene Bedard, Tom Berenger (Platoon, The Big Chill); Lance Henriksen (Millenium, Aliens); and Wes Studi (The Last of the Mohicans, Heat). Additional cast for night four will be announced later.

Night five is directed by Timothy Van Patten (The Sopranos, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire) from a script by William Mastrosimone. Cast for night five will be announced later.

Night six is directed by Jeremy Podeswa (Carnivale, Six Feet Under) from a script by Mastrosimone. Cast for night six will be announced later.

Turner Network Television (TNT), television’s destination for drama and one of cable’s top-rated networks, offers award-caliber original films, such as the Johnson & Johnson Spotlight PresentationSM 14 Hours; highly anticipated original series, including Into the West, an epic 12-hour series from DreamWorks Television and executive producer Steven Spielberg; powerful one-hour dramas, such as Law & Order, Without a Trace, ER, NYPD Blue, Charmed, Judging Amy and Angel; broadcast premiere movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is also available in high-definition.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and a leading provider of programming for the television industry.

Original Article in The Futon Critic

Development Update: July 27-28
By The Futon Critic Staff

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from recent wire reports:

INTO THE WEST (TNT) - Keri Russell ("Felicity") and Josh Brolin ("Mister Sterling") are the latest additions to the $50 million, 12-hour limited series about the opening of the American West in the 19th century through the eyes of two multigenerational families, one of white settlers and one of Native Americans, from executive producer Steven Spielberg. Brolin will play a pioneer named Jedediah, who inspires Jacob Wheeler (Matthew Settle) and his brother Jethro (Skeet Ulrich) to head west on a treacherous wagon train journey. Russell will play their jilted cousin Naomi. Production is on track to begin later this summer for a summer 2005 premiere.
Original Article in The Futon Critic

July 28, 2004
DEAR SALLY... I'M DATING JESSE JAMES: Felicity goddess Keri Russell has signed on to star in TNT's upcoming Steven Spielberg-produced miniseries Into the West, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The 12-hour, six-part, $50-million epic chronicles the settling of the American West in the 19th century through the eyes of two multigenerational families. Joining Russell in the saga are Josh Brolin, Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Settle.
Original Article in TV Guide

Keri Russell, Josh Brolin go 'West'
Big News Network.com
Wednesday 28th July, 2004

Keri Russell is set and Josh Brolin is in talks to join the cast of TNT's 12-hour epic Into the West.

The series is being produced by Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks TV, the Hollywood reporter said Tuesday.

Simon Wincer -- who directed the 2003 TNT movie Monte Walsh and the 1989 Emmy-winning miniseries Lonesome Dove -- has signed to direct one of the six two-hour segments of Into the West.

The series is an account of the opening of the West in the 1800s, as told through the stories of a family of white settlers and a family of Native Americans.

Russell (Felicity) and Brolin (Hollow Man) join a cast that already included Skeet Ulrich (Scream) and Matthew Settle (Band of Brothers).
Original Article

Spielberg Hitches TNT Wagon to Trio
(Friday, July 16 07:45 AM)

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) Steven Spielberg's epic TNT limited series "Into the West" is beginning its multigenerational cast with a trio of young actors. The $50 million series will utilize an ensemble cast to tell a story of the opening of the American West.

Alan Tudyk, Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Settle are close to signing on to play a group of brothers who move West from Virginia, but take different paths towards their Manifest Destiny.

The series, which will unfold over 12 episodes, will premiere in six two-hour episodes next summer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Titled, fittingly, "Into the West," it will look at Westward expansion in the 19th century through the eyes of one family of white settlers and one family of Native Americans.

Spielberg ("The Terminal," "Taken") will executive produce for DreamWorks TV.

Settle was part of the ensemble cast of Spielberg's HBO WW2 epic "Band of Brothers" and recently appeared in the telefilm "The Mystery of Natalie Wood," playing Warren Beatty. His feature credits include "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and "U-571."

Ulrich is best known for his killer role in Wes Craven's "Scream," but the actors has a core of television fans thanks to his work on the short-lived cult series ABC's "Miracles."

Tudyk may also be most familiar from a cancelled-too-soon television classic, Joss Whedon's "Firefly." He can be seen on the big screen in "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" and will move on to "Serenity" with the rest of the "Firefly" cast.
Original Article

Trio Aboard Spielberg's Into the West
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Skeet Ulrich, Alan Tudyk and Matthew Settle are in talks to play key roles in Steven Spielberg's epic limited-run series for TNT, Into the West.

The 12-hour project, budgeted at about $50 million, tells the story of the opening of the American West in the 19th century through the eyes of two multigenerational families, one of white settlers and one of Native Americans.

Ulrich, Tudyk and Settle will lead an ensemble cast, playing three brothers from Virginia who have the same spirit of expansion of the West but take different routes toward their destination.
Original Article