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The Big Valley: Susan Sarandon & Ryan Phillipe Star in Movie, Lee Majors to Appear

The Big ValleyIn the ’50s and ’60s, TV westerns often dominated the primetime schedules, but by the early ’70s, they all seemed go by the wayside. Attempts to revive them haven’t been met with much success, save for the Maverick feature film starring Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, and James Garner.

Now The Big Valley, the western series that launched the careers of Linda Evans and Lee Majors, is going to take a stab at a remake, with Susan Sarandon, Ryan Phillipe, Richard Drefuss, and Bruce Dern in key roles.

The Big Valley originally ran on ABC from 1965 to 1969. Barbara Stanwyck plays a widowed matriarch running a ranch in California. She has three sons and a daughter (Richard Long, Peter Breck, Charles Briles, and Linda Evans). Her late husband’s illegitimate son (Lee Majors) joins the clan as the series begins. The family’s youngest son, a medical student named Eugene (Briles), was written out during the first season.

Filmmakers Daniel Adams and Kate Edelman Johnson are behind The Big Valley feature under the banner Panther Entertainment. Adams has written the script and will direct, and Johnson happens to be the daughter of Louis Edelman, who helped create the TV series. It’s expected that the plot will borrow elements from the TV show’s pilot and some episodes. Edelman Johnson has said, “I am so thrilled to be filming this project, not only to honor my father and Miss Stanwyck, but to bring a great woman’s part to the screen as head of this historical family saga.”

Would you like to see Breck and Evans in the movie?

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Taking on the “great woman’s part” of Victoria Barkley is Susan Sarandon. Despite a very recent breakup with longtime beau Tim Robbins, Sarandon is as busy as ever, with The Lovely Bones being released late last year, the original film You Don’t Know Jack airing on HBO next month, and two more films, Peacock and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, being released later this year.

Additionally, Ryan Phillippe recently said that he would be filming a role in the feature. The actor also said that he’d be co-starring with Sarandon, Billy Bob Thornton, Richard Drefuss, and Bruce Dern.

According to IMDB, Jason Alan Smith will be playing hot-headed brother Nick. Phillippe will be playing eldest brother Jarrod but the movie’s Facebook page says that Thornton will not be in the film. Majors is scheduled to appear as patriarch Tom Barkley, though one would expect it won’t be an extended role. Breck is reportedly ill. No word yet if Evans will be asked to appear in the movie.

Filming is expected to get underway in May with principal photography in Michigan and New Mexico.

What do you think? Is the movie casting on track or do you have others in mind? Would you like to see Breck and Evans take part?

 

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzannah April 24, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Charles Briles (Eugene) is doing well. He was only written out of the show because he got drafted. Would be nice to see him again. Would love to see the surviving Barkleys in the movie together, if people insist on a remake; but really I wish with the others gone that everyone would just leave perfection alone.

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Gabe Fucci Jr. January 8, 2014 at 12:10 pm

If the casting is close to the original characters and their wardrobe……. with a good plot………I believe it will be a successful movie. I have always been a great fan of “THE BIG VALLEY” and still watch it on television today.
I hope the movie will be completed and released soon! I seldom go to the movies….. but I’ll be watching this one!!!

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Debra August 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm

I love the Big Valley, and i miss Peter, Richard and Barbara.

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Brenda September 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm

ME TOO!!! Peter was my favorite of the cast. I liked them all but he is my favorite and Richard and Barbara a close second. That show was just perfection. Makes you wish you were on the ranch a part of the family. I miss good television like that. Spend a lot of my TV time watching reruns on DVD of Big Valley, Bonanza, and a few others, but Big Valley is my favorite.

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chicagopunkie May 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I just now read this article for the first time today.

Apparently The Big Valley remake has fallen by the wayside; the same way the remake of The Riflemam did.

I wanted to comment, as well, on some previous comments because I loved reading them and happen to agree completely!

Those would be the comments made by CC on 5/28/12 and also by SEG on. 5/06/13.

I almost exclusively watch MeTV for the same reasons CC mentioned – “reality crap, it’s time to start teaching ethics, morals and family values on TV again because they don’t seem to be being taught anywhere now days.”

Thank you very much for saying that! How true.

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Jake March 26, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I read that the director of The Big Valley movie got into trouble and was jailed. Would have really liked to have seen this movie if it would have been well done.
The Bonanza movies made were pretty awful. Also the Gunsmoke movies failed to live up the the original series

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Montgomery Paul Snell October 14, 2012 at 7:59 am

I certainally wouldnt have mind if the movie just picked up as it left off and as lee majors playing Heath, of course they would have to write in the death of deceaced charaters but just continue on say like up untill world war 1 or 2 or something with Lee Majors playing a real dramatic charater as Heath Barkley Besideds all that anyway it seems the remake that has been schuduled has appeared to dissapear. Any word on any thing about that ? I still would like to see Lee Majors in anything as long as its a dramatic serious part and just not mostly like what he has been doing after the 6 million dollar man. I was not a fan of Colt Severs at all. but Lee Majors I am.

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pam June 26, 2012 at 10:00 am

mr.breck gone to ride coco who died on set a long time ago he and richard long are doing cigars and booze @ the lodge frying fish and shooting the breeze so they should choose a real bad ass to be nick

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CC May 28, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Would be very interested in seeing this, sadly Peter Breck has passed away but Linda Evans is still alive, so bring her back too. Would be really nice to see good shows like The Big Valley make a return, I think just about everybody has had their fill of reality crap. Also it’s time to start teaching ethics, morals and family values on TV again because they don’t seem to be being taught anywhere now days.

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SEG May 6, 2013 May 7, 2013 at 1:47 am

I feel the same way CC does. I watched The Big Valley when I was young and now that I am 82 I watch it every day. I loved that show so much and I am so glad it is back on again and happy to know they are doing a big screen show on it. It makes me feel bad that Richaraad Long, Barbara Stanwyck & Peter Breck have died. I would like to see Linda Evans in the show. Is Silas still around? I will be VERY HAPPY TO SEE IT!!!!

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carrie connor February 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I think that mark valley should play heath barkely. I also think that lee majors should play a bigger role because he is from the original cast. he would know more about the show.

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pam June 26, 2012 at 10:33 am

they should skip movie and do this heath lee majors and linda evans should star new big valley series the barkleys have victoria gone old age have nick jarrod killed during stage robbery with audra losing family in front of her causes her to finally grow up heath does ranch with nick’s son jack (mark valley )and his son morgan (a hottie blonde actor) while jarrod son is a lawyer jarrod thomas j.t. who can shoot baddies what actor has sexy blue eyes thirty something slightly older than mark eugene in new york teaching doctors something audra has a daughter just like she use to be named tori sound good?????????????

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Melanie February 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

I am an Asian-American woman born in the early ’70s. After watching a couple of the re-runs of The Big Valley, I am absolutely in love with the show and all its characters. I have been going from Target to Best Buy to see if I can purchase all the DVDs…nothing available :-( The characters (especially Peter Breck) made the show what it is. You definitely have to bring Linda Evans, Peter Breck, and Lee Majors back and incorporate them into the movie some how. I loved watching Linda Evans and Lee Majors because they were so beautiful and handsome respectively on screen. I would try to get home everyday to make it for the 3 o’clock (eastern) reruns on MeTV. The creators of this show is brilliant and anyone who can recreate it again would be a genius.

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Jake March 26, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Peter Breck died several years ago, as has Richard Long and Barbara STanwyck

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Suzannah April 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Peter Breck did not die “several” years ago; he died February 6, 2012 – TWO years. I cried for three days, but he was a believer in Christ; that makes his passing easier knowing he’s now with Jesus. Still miss him SO MUCH!

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