‘Sopranos’ Star James Gandolfini Returning To HBO In ‘Big Dead Place’

Published 4 years ago by

james gandolfini big dead place hbo Sopranos Star James Gandolfini Returning To HBO In Big Dead Place

Four years after The Sopranos last aired, James Gandolfini is returning to the network that made him a household name. The actor is set to produce and star in Big Dead Place for HBO – about life on a research facility in Antarctica.

Based on the memoirs of Nicholas Johnson, Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica, the book – and soon the series – deals mainly with the curious adaptive behaviors exhibited by individuals living in the most uninhabitable place on the earth. Breaking Bad writer Peter Gould is reportedly developing the project – so don’t expect this series to be Happy Feet 3.

According to Johnson’s memoirs, the writer worked as a dishwasher and garbage collector for the frozen continent’s McMurdo Station — the enormous (by Antarctica standards) research facility that featured prominently in Werner Herzog’s 2007 Antarctic documentary, Encounters at the End of the World.

Johnson’s experience at McMurdo was one of isolation and mind-numbing boredom, brought about by the often deadly weather conditions that forced the camp’s occupants to remain indoors much of the time. Like a frat house version of The Shining, the seclusion began to take its toll, and many at the camp would turn to alcohol to alleviate the onset of cabin fever.

The series aims to take a darkly comic look at a situation in which, through the pursuit of science and discovery, many very smart people make very dumb decisions – being stationed at McMurdo being the first, possibly.

Since Gandolfini’s last excursion on HBO gave him experience in the sanitation industry, the actor will naturally be taking on the role of Johnson. At this time, there are no other actors attached, but the lure of HBO and Gandolfini will likely net top-notch talent.


mcmurdo station antarctica Sopranos Star James Gandolfini Returning To HBO In Big Dead Place

McMurdo Station, the setting for HBO's 'Big Dead Place'

Series or films in which the environment plays a role as large as that of the actors can be a tricky proposition. On one hand, you have a masterpiece such as John Carpenter’s The Thing (we’ll see how the prequel/remake stands up), and on the other hand, you have the disappointing adaptation of Greg Rucka’s Whiteout. Both dealt with the menace of the Antarctica, and the notion of isolation, but with drastically different results.

Time will tell what side Big Dead Place lands.

Big Dead Place is part of a larger overall deal Gandolfini has with HBO. The actor has also produced two documentaries, Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq and Wartorn: 1861-2010, and is an executive producer on the HBO film Hemingway and Gellhorn starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman.

Look for Big Dead Place on HBO sometime in the next year.

Source: Deadline

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  1. Glad he is finding work again, it is sad that he has been typecast as a tough guy after roles in things like “True Romance” and “The Mexican”. Hopefully this will show more of his comedic side and that will translate into film roles!

  2. A new series about smart people doing stupid mistakes out of boredum, sounds stupid i’ll pass.

  3. Been there, done that, read the book and lived the life for 23 years and counting. Out of all of the movies about Antarctica, Happy Feet had more fact then most and Whiteout made me want to vomit. That is time lost forever and I never will get it back. I am available to consult on the story and shooting for accuracy and I also think that George Clooney should play me in the series. It is hard to picture J. Gandolfini as a “wastey” unless he is tring to hide a body and I know how to do that too.

  4. I’ve done 5 seasons in McMurdo including 3 winters. McMurdo is the easiest station to serve at in Antarctica, lots to do, lots of people, big station, so if he had such a hard time in this big station with its amenities he shouldn’t be there. You do get tired of the darkness and not being able to leave around mid-winter, but making McMurdo into some totally remote experience is kind of exaggerating. McMurdo is not the “wilds of Antarctica” particularly for a dishwasher that never leaves town. Seems like he is exaggerating the situation and expect it will be a one-sided view of what can be the most fun time of your life. Many folks go there year after year to work and love it. There are some good specials on living in Antarctica that will give a better view of it that his movie of the bored and drunk minority there.

  5. I don’t have high hopes for this series being any kind of accurate representation of life here at McMurdo. Maybe if they could have gotten and Artist and Writer’s Grant first and come down to see for themselves and hear other people’s stories and experiences it might have come closer. Ice people are touchy about how they’re represented. I remember some journalist dude who came down a few years ago and his first story about the place was critical of the people, the place, the entire experience. The community mocked and ridiculed him privately and publicly. I’ll be very sad if we are all portrayed as drunken jackasses.

  6. James Gandolfini back working is great but this project with HBO doesn’t sound too good, I hope I’m wrong. I’ll be watching and hope it does well.