Paul Dano joins Del Toro & Arquette for Ben Stiller’s prison break TV series

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

Today, it's being reported that THERE WILL BE BLOOD star Paul Dano has signed on to star alongside Benicio Del Toro and Patricia Arquette in the Showtime limited series ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA. Formally known as CLINTON CORRECTIONAL, the prison break-inspired series will be directed and executively produced by comedian/actor/producer Ben Stiller. With all of its lead actors having signed on the dotted line, the eight-hour (episode) limited series has officially been greenlit by the powers that be of the premiere cable network. 

Based on the notable true story of a 2015 prison break in upstate New York, which then prompted a massive manhunt for two convicted murderers who were aided in their escape by a married female prison employee with whom both prisoners had become sexually involved. While Del Toro will assume the role of Richard Matt, the convicted murderer who orchestrated the escape, Dano will play David Sweat, the convicted cop-killer who seduces Tilly Mitchell (Arquette) into being an integral part of the masterplan for freedom.

ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA will be written and executively produced by MAD MEN alum Brett Johnson, with RAY DONOVAN's Michael Tolkin joining the writing efforts as well. In addition to Stiller, Johnson and Tolkin, executive producing are RAY DONOVAN‘s Bryan Zuriff, Michael De Luca courtesy of Michael De Luca Productions, and Nicky Weinstock for Stiller’s Red Hour Productions. Production will start later this year at the actual locations in upstate New York.

In talking about the project, Ben Stiller was quoted as saying, “We are all very intent on trying to tell this singular story in a way that shows the reality and humanity of the people involved. While the genre is a prison escape story, at its core it is a story about real people, some criminals and some not, who make some bad choices that have huge consequences. I think that’s what’s so compelling about this.”  Then adding to Stiller's comments was Patricia Arquette who said that ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA is a "fascinating and dark American love story rooted in real and self-deceptive incarceration.”

The following summary is brought to you by Deadline Hollywood:

In 2008, Richard Matt received a 25-years-to-life sentence at Clinton Correctional Facility without possibility of parole for the 1997 murder and dismemberment of his boss, William Rickerson. After that killing, Matt fled to Mexico, where he killed a man outside a bar and served nine years in jail before being extradited to the U.S. in 2007. In prison, he met Sweat, who was sentenced to life without parole in 2003 for the murder of a sheriff’s deputy.

In June 2015, abetted by Mitchell and corrections officer Gene Palmer, the pair became the first escapees in the 170-year history of Clinton Correctional, the state of New York’s third-oldest prison and largest maximum security facility. They were at large for 20 days, until Matt was killed in a confrontation after being spotted by law enforcement, 50 miles from Clinton and less than 20 miles south of Canada.

Two days later, Sweat was wounded and then apprehended, less than two miles from the Canadian border. Mitchell and Sweat pled guilty to multiple charges related to the prison break. Mitchell received a sentence of 28 months to seven years in prison, serving her sentence at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Westchester County, New York, approximately 300 miles from Clinton. Sweat was officially sentenced to an additional 3½ to 7 years. In June 2016, a report from the Office of the Inspector General in New York declared that a total of 20 uniformed and civilian employees enabled the escape in some fashion.

Production on ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA is set to begin later this year at the Clinton Correctional Facility in New York.    

Source: Deadline Hollywood

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a 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.