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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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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon Heino January 31, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Does anyone know WHERE in michigan they shot the movie???


Jon Heino January 31, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I have written a show that is set in the 1920’s which shows where each of the siblings are in life, complete with children and grandchildren. It would be a great way to actually bring back the original actors into the roles that they had original created. It takes into account the deaths of Stanwick and Long by having them be deceased and now buried along side of their late spouses and it also takes Breck’s failing health into account by having him only appear very briefly at the beginning and dying immediately. It also uses clips form original episodes as “flashbacks”. That way it incorporates the olf with the new.
I am looking forward to seeing The Big Valley movie when it comes out as I am a HUGE fan of ANYTHING Lee Majors has done or is doing. Even the crappy and corny stuff. I am undoubtly his BIGGEST fan!!!


pam June 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm

lee majors was on one of csi: ny


annie January 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm

My goodness we are such big fans of the big valley. I believe if they choose the right actors this can be a hit. Heath, Nick and Jarrod were heaven to watch. The women were such ladies. Do not ruin such a great idea by bringing in bad actors.


Shy December 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I would love to see a remake of the Big Valley. Linda Evans should be cast as Victoria Barkley. even though Peter Breck is ill, they should figure out a way to include him in the movie.


Dalton Meyers Jr. November 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I think it would be GREAT to have the original actors in the new show!! I just saw my favorite Lee Majors talking about the show. It would be wonderful if it takes off and families start to watch the NEW series!!! Like Lee says… I hope they have a MAGNIFICENT writer to bring this WESTERN alive. Then people will tune in every week. Dalton says : BRING IT BACK!


pam June 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm

yeah lets great all fans write for new big valley series


Jean Holland October 8, 2011 at 9:24 am

Yes, I would like to see Linda Evans in the movie The Big Valley.


L J Sopjes September 14, 2011 at 12:03 am

I have to say that I like the original actors so much that I suspect I’ll be disappointed in the film.

I’ve been watching Big Valley reruns lately and it’s amazing how great an actor Peter Breck is–he’s extremely underrated.


Anonymous October 11, 2011 at 10:37 am

yes indeed breck was quick tempered, growing up around his father tom , he should be more like tom than lee majors char heath, when I saw bg vlly I wanted to be heath, breck maybe could care less about acting now or is unable, from the biggest fan of the original.


Robert S. Miller Jr. August 30, 2011 at 6:59 am

‘The Big Valley’ and’ The Fugitive’ were my 2 favorite T.V shows, growing up. I thought Peter Breck as Nick Barkley made the show. He was superb in ‘ Night of the Wolf’ which was the best episode of the series, in my opinion. It co-starred Ronny Howard ( he had to have the best agent in Hollywood) and Nancy Olson. They were a very close family who argued alot ( especially Jarrod and Nick), but would stand by each other, when it was needed most. It was a well- casted show. Richard Long ( I could not believe it, when he passed away at 47), Linda Evans and Lee Majors were great in their roles, also. I cannot leave out Barbara Stanwyck who was fantastic as Victoria Barkley and was a screen legend. It would be great to have Linda Evans play Victoria in the movie, and have Lee Majors and Peter Breck be in it, as well. I cannot wait to see ‘The Big Valley’ on the big screen. It would bring back some great childhood memories.


Tim Gianoli June 27, 2011 at 8:23 am

I am one of the biggest fans of the show The Big Valley, and have always liked the part of Nick, And Linda Evans what a beautiful woman then and throughout the years, and a very good actress. I wholeheartedly agree that it would be fantastic to have Linda Evans play the part of Victoria, (though it probably will not happen). But I think that having Peter Breck, Lee Majors, and Linda Evans in the movie someway would be a automatic, no brainer.
I have had the thought in recent years that I should attempt to write a couple movies based around the show. One would be the early years of Tom and Victoria leaving the east in the early to mid 1840s for California from maybe the lead mining area of Wisconsin or Illinois up to the point when Tom returns back home from Strawberry after his affair with Heath’s mother and striking gold. The second one would be set about 1910 with Peter, Lee, and Linda resuming their characters and talking with one another about events in their lives of the last 40+/- years; where and how both Jarrod and Victoria had deceased, the three of them meeting their wives and husband, how Nick and Heath made it through those years.
I am very excited to see this new movie and what it is about, and if it is handled correctly with respect to the way the show was. I liked the theater movie Maverick, but toward the end became disappointed as it first seemed that there wasn’t going to be a twist at the end, but they pulled off at the very end anyway; excellent match to the show.


Eugene Barkley June 16, 2011 at 11:52 am

Would like to have been asked. I’ve been out of the military now for 39 years.


pam June 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm

where can i write to get u on is there a big valley site where i can write to you and lee majors ,and ms evans


pam June 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm

where can i write to get u on is there a big valley site where i can write to you and lee majors ,and ms evans i think you were slighted a bit


pam June 26, 2012 at 2:33 pm

if they don’t give u part be the director on series when it comes if their smart


Lynn May 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I can’t wait until the remake comes out!! I would love to see Linda Evans as Mrs. Barkley. No to Susan S. in anything. Yuk!! She is not worthy.


kim June 28, 2011 at 6:35 am

i fell the same


Paul Nitz February 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm

How come only the 1st season and 2nd seasonVOL.1 has been released on DVD,but not the other seasons?


Brent October 17, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I heard the Season One did’nt sell well….so they stopped.


coach IKE February 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I grew up watching this family western drama, it was a family event at our home. I have always been a fan of the actors as well as the series. I strongly feel a need to allow
previous actors to reprise there role in a show that allow them to be a part of my life, i hope many other fans feel as passionate about the original cast as well as the remake as I do. I’m looking foward to it,(having a HUGE crush on Mrs. Sarandon)


freddie February 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm

definitely have linda evans play barbara stanwyck. she worked with her they were very close till the end of barbaras life, and barbara stanwyck would be delighted to have linda evans play her. screw susan sarandon.


tony December 31, 2010 at 12:04 pm



Bill Brant February 19, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I love the Big Valley….best western ever. To me what made this show better than all the rest was the comraderie of the 3 brothers (by the way I am from 3 brothers) and the afluence of the Barkley clan. Nick was my favorite (if you’re listening Peter Breck) and Jarrod was fantastic. The cynergy was so great and I still to this day hope I hit the Powerball so I can recreate my life into the Barkley family. Linda Evans provided eye candy and a reason for the brothers to protect. Victoria was in charge and was the perfect matriarch. Even though I am in my 50’s I still watch Big Valley episodes. The 1st episode set the tone and I love the one with James Whitmore shooting the Craddock’s. Please make the remake. Can’t be as good as the first but push forward to make it happen!


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