'Gunsmoke' movie in the works

Dodge City is heading from TV history to the big screen, as CBS Films is developing a feature film based on Gunsmoke. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that National Treasure: Book of Secrets writer Gregory Poirier will write the screenplay and Craig Baumgarten (Shattered Glass) will produce. Poirier is close to finishing the first draft of the script.

The project is described as being set in the American West made famous in the TV series, but with a contemporary look and action sequences to appeal to modern audiences. Gunsmoke is the second longest-running primetime TV series (after The Simpsons), running from 1955-1975 and making household names of Marshal Matt Dillon, Doc Adams and saloon owner Miss Kitty.


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  • barock

    When they say “appeal to modern audiences” you know it’s going to suck.

    • Bob

      I agree; also what the heck is a contemporary look? Doesn’t bode well I’m thinkig

    • Albert

      My reaction was identical — “contemporary look…appeal to modern audiences” — it’s going to suck. I can just imagine the profanity and attitude that we will see in a new Dillon. By now it should be clear that remaking the old westerns for the “new audience” doesn’t work. My suggestion would be either don’t make it at all or, for once, make it in the mold of the traditional western; the results might just be surprising.

    • Brenda Daniel

      I agree. It needs to be made in the genre’ of the original show. I can’t think of any actor right now that could pull of playing Matt. James Arness is a hard act to follow. Anyway, I want to play Kitty!

  • gaydak

    Hollywood has run completely out of original ideas.

  • AuntieMM

    Last week it was announced that they’d be making a movie from The Big Valley and now Gunsmoke. Can Bonanza or Wagon Train be far behind? But do modern audiences really want to see Westerns?

    • Steve F

      Well, the made 3:10 to Yuma, and it failed pretty well. We neen more cowboys and fewer crack dealers in today’s cinema. Wagon Trains was a good idea, as well.

      • Steve F

        Correcting some errors: Well, they made “3:10 to Yuma and it FAIRED pretty well. We NEED more cowboys and fewer crack dealers. Sorry 4 the first attempt!!!

  • dutch

    Well, Tombstone, Missing, Quigley, Unforgiven were all good movies. Lets hope they cast Tom Sellec as Arness and costume as well as tombstone and they may have a winner.

  • Doc Waltz

    Many very good “recent” Westerns have been made. If the plot, character development, cast, and production are top notch, modern audiences seem to pay the money to see them. That’s a lot of ‘ifs.” I agree with casting Tom Selleck. Would love to see Harry Carey, Jr. one more time,too…perhaps in a cameo role.

  • Michael

    Tom Selleck is a great actor but he’s too old to play Matt Dillon. I think they should follow the path of the original show and pick actors that are not that well known. That way if the movie is a big hit and CBS decides to bring back a series the actors in the movie could play those same roles. Selleck would never be available for that.

  • Kenneth Mark Hoover

    Contemporary look and action sequences. That right there fills me with dread.

  • Keith

    If they want to give it a “contemporary look…appeal to modern audiences”, why even call it “Gunsmoke”. This sounds like another attempt to cash in on a “show name”. There are twenty years of stories, character development, and images that are instilled into the legend. Its just like when Coca-Cola decided it needed to change its taste, and replaced it with “New Coke”. If the story and theme stick with the original concepts of the series, perhaps even writing a donut that would feature a voice over with James Arness (such as seen in many of the first few seasons of the show), you could set up the movie as one big flashback to the origins of these characters and the “early history” of Dodge. But if the producer goes down the path that is hinted at, then all you will end up with is a movie that calls itself a western, and has the name “Gunsmoke”, but will be neither.

  • Rose Laredo

    Speaking as a director, I would love to direct the motion pic of Gunsmoke. I would cast Lady GaGa as Matt Dillon and Tom Sizemore as Kitty, Meryl Streep as Doc and Tom Cruise as Chester.

  • Brenda

    I agree. It needs to be done in like the original show. Who’ll play Matt? I don’t know of any actor out there right now who could pull off playing Matt. James is too hard an act to follow. Anyway, I want to play Kitty!

  • Jen

    Well, I can agree that there’s a chance it may suck, but I’m willing to give it a try! I’m a diehard fan and curious to see what modern day Hollywood will do.

  • maurice

    There are a lot of allusions to
    Marshal Dillons past that were
    never fleshed out in the TV series.
    So a prequel movie is long overdue.
    I bet that when the new movie is
    released in 2012, there may well
    be a new wave of enthusiasm for
    shoot ‘em up horse operas, again.
    The American Old West genre is,
    like Tombstone AZ, too tough to
    With Blu-Ray technology, the
    disc release could include a
    lengthier version and commentary
    by James Arness Andrew V McLaglen,
    Pam Polifroni, Morgan Woodward,
    Burt Reynolds, Buck Taylor as
    well as the numerous younger
    actors and actresses who appeared
    throughout the many years the
    original series ran. Even the
    later made-for-TV movies actors
    and actresses could do an encore
    or a cameo. It would be hit with
    nostalgic boomers,I reckon.

  • K Prate

    It would be nice to see a movie again that has grand, sweeping landscapes, great acting and a minimum of computer generated graphics. Westerns were never the million dollar block busters that Hollywood lusts after, but there was always a solid audience.

  • Tom S

    I think that the reason for the success of the origional “Gunsmoke” was that it played to our hopes and dreams of clear cut justice and honesty. That good will overcome evil. I think that people long for that security and perhaps need that reinforcement so that they can carry them over into their every day life. The grim and brutal realities for life are very evident in our day to day living and we don’t need to pay to see them at the movies.

  • MLH

    I feel modern audiences demand authenticity in every detail where westerns are concerned. Lonesome Dove for westerns and Saving Private Ryan for WW2 films
    set that in stone. I’m sure there are actors out there no one has thought of that can fill the shoes of the original cast.

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