Fukunaga & Kassell to team for The Last of the Mohicans TV series

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

The Last of the Mohicans, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Nicole Kassell

It's been announced that MANIAC and THE ALIENIST creative Cary Joji Fukunaga will be joining forces with WATCHMEN and CASTLE ROCK director Nicole Kassell for a television series presentation of THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Based on the historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans was previously adapted for the silver screen by director Michael Mann. Enigmatic actor Daniel Day-Lewis and 12 MONKEYS standout Madeleine Stowe starred in the 1992 action-drama, which centered on three trappers who protect the daughters of a British Colonel in the midst of the French and Indian War. The new Mohicans project is being developed by Paramount Television, where Fukunaga has an overall deal. Meanwhile, Anonymous Content and Fukunaga’s Parliament of Owls are producing.

“The clash of civilizations during the Seven Years War, which frames the story of Last of the Mohicans, has been a long-time passion of mine,” said Fukunaga. “It was a world war before the term even existed. The opportunity to recreate the story’s strong-willed and free-thinking characters, with talents including Nick Osborne and Nicole Kassell, is incredibly exciting to me. Together with Paramount TV and Anonymous Content, we have the chance to revive the forgotten ancestors that define American identity today," the BEASTS OF NO NATIONS helmer then added.

Whoa! Would you believe that Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans story already has a total of nine film adaptations, the first being a 1912 version starring James Cruze? There was also a 1920 version starring Wallace Beery that was deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry. As we've already mentioned Mann's 1992 version above, let's press on to a few of the TV adaptations, shall we?

It was actually the Great White North, Canada, that gave Cooper's mixed-race romance tale its first television presentation in 1957 with Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans. For that version, John Hart landed the role of Hawkeye, while Lon Chaney Jr. acted as Chingachgook. In 1971 the BBC released a serialized version of the story for television audiences, with Philip Madoc, Kenneth Ives, and John Abineri assuming key roles. The aforementioned version is hailed by many to be the truest adaptation of Cooper's material, even though most versions had done an admirable job in that department as well.

“I am profoundly excited to be a part of this extraordinary team and to be bringing a new light and perspective to this period in our history,” Kassell said. “While the James Fenimore Cooper book and original film leave large shoes to fill, Nick and Cary’s script is a riveting read and fresh take. They embrace this incredible opportunity to show and explore characters so often marginalized. To echo a sentiment Nick expressed to me in our first conversation ‘certain stories are timeless vessels that allow different generations to look at it and explore them in different ways.’ To be a part of bringing these eyes and hearts to the screen is the opportunity of a lifetime for me.”

Hot damn! Talk about expectations, huh? It's almost as if creating a version of The Last of the Mohicans is some form of filmmaker right of passage, no? While I'm not too familiar with the tale – I saw Mann's version in theaters way back when – Fukunaga and Kassell's involvement is more than enough to get my interest piqued. What say you? Are you excited to have yet another version of this timeless story brought to the small screen? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Source: Deadline

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.