The Texas film industry will get a shot in the arm this summer from a new AMC series based on “The Son,” the sprawling 2013 historical novel by Austinite Philipp Meyer about the rise and fall of a Texas ranching and oil empire.
Meyer and former Michener Center for Writers colleague Brian McGreevy are completing the first 10 episodes this month for the AMC series, which will rely on a Texas crew, “even though it would have been cheaper to film it elsewhere,” Meyer said Monday.
“It feels pretty great. We fought to have it film in Texas, and we thought we’d never win that battle. But it was the right choice, and AMC agreed, and, of course, that wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did,” he said.
Meyer said he can’t disclose the budget for the first season, but said he thinks it’s one of the biggest ever for an AMC series. And if everything works out the way Meyer hopes, there will be more than just one season and the series “will end up being bigger and more ambitious than the book.”
“There was a long development process with AMC,” Meyer said. “They vetted us super carefully. And the crazy thing is that this is going to be one of the most faithful adaptations of a novel ever, since we’re re-writing all the scripts and are executive producers. The network has been behind us the whole way, and that’s never supposed to happen in Hollywood.”
Meyer said he expects the first season to air on AMC in 2017.
Heather Page of the Texas Film Commission said the agency was “excited to land this project and have such a wonderful Texas story be filmed in Central Texas.” She pointed out that the book, which she has read four times, is set in “many different time periods, so it’s going to feel very epic.”’
She said the show might eventually need to venture outside of Central Texas and benefit other parts of the state.
“Things are really coming together,” Meyer said. “We are getting an amazing crew in Austin. We are getting amazing actors. It is starting to feel like this could be a once-in-a-lifetime project.”
Sam Neill has been cast to play the role of Texas ranching scion Eli McCullough. As a child Eli was kidnapped and raised among the Comanches and takes a brutal Comanche worldview in his adult business dealings.
Henry Garrett will play Pete McCullough, the oldest son who lives in his father’s shadow. Zahn McClarnon will play Toshaway, the Comanche chief who captures Eli as a boy. Paola Nunez will play Maria Garcia, a member of the South Texas Spanish aristocracy. And Sydney Lucas will play Jeannie McCullough, the strong-willed daughter of Pete.