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C.J. Box

New C.J. Box Series Based on “Joe Pickett” Announced; Filming To Start Soon

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

C.J. Box’s “Joe Pickett” series has finally found its star and filming will commence soon.

New Zealand actor Michael Dorman, known for his roles “The Invisible Man” remake and the Apple TV+ series “For All Mankind,” has been cast as the famous game warden from Box’s 20-novel series, according to Deadline.

“We’ve been teasing this for months. Now here it is and we couldn’t be more pleased!” Box wrote in a social media post about the casting announcement on Thursday.

Spectrum Originals has given a 10-episode order for the series, which will be an hourlong drama series based on the novels. The project is coming from “Waco” creators John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle and Paramount TV Studios.

“Joe Pickett” follows the titular game warden and his family as they navigate the changing political and socio-economic climate in a small rural town in Wyoming. Surrounded by rich history and vast wildlife, the township hides decades of schemes and secrets that are yet to be uncovered.

The series will air for a nine-month exclusive run on Spectrum.

“C.J. Box’s brilliant and beloved Joe Pickett novels draw you in with the quiet beauty of the Wyoming setting, but it’s the characters that keep you riveted in their complexity, passion and unique points of view — for better or worse,” said Katherine Pope, Head of Spectrum Originals. “Michael has the intensity, humanity and humor that Joe Pickett demands.”

Box will serve as an executive producer on the series.

This is the second TV series adaptation of Box’s work ordered over the past year. The other, David E. Kelley’s “Big Sky,” based on Box’s Cassie Dewell novels, has been a breakout hit for ABC.

“C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett novels truly have something for everyone—spellbinding storytelling, multifaceted characters, and of course the breathtaking setting of the Wyoming wilderness—and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with Spectrum Originals, Red Wagon and John Erick and Drew Dowdle in bringing these characters to life,” said Paramount Television Studios President Nicole Clemens. “The Dowdles have a sharp instinct for the specificity of this rich world. Joe Pickett is a ‘still waters run deep’ character and so we feel unbelievably fortunate to have Michael Dorman, who brings amazing depth to this character.”

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C.J. Box’s Latest Book “Dark Sky” Debuts #3 On New York Times Bestseller List

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

C.J. Box’s latest novel will debut in the top five of the New York Times Best Sellers list, the author announced this week.

Dark Sky,” the latest entry in Box’s Joe Pickett series, will debut at No. 3 in combined hardcover and ebook sales and No. 4 in hardcover sales on the March 21 list, he announced on social media.

“We’re extremely happy to report that DARK SKY will debut as the #3 book in combined hardcover and ebook sales and the #4 book in hardcover sales on the March 21 New York Times Best Seller List!” Box wrote on Twitter. “And that sales are up 21% overall! Thanks to you, readers, for making this happen.”

The book was released earlier this month and follows Pickett as he accompanies a Silicon Valley CEO on a hunting trip, but finds out that something more sinister is afoot.

This is the 21st book in the Pickett series, which is in the works to be adapted as a live-action show as well. Not much information has been released about the show, but it is expected to begin production in Canada sometime this summer.

Making the NYT Best Sellers list isn’t a new accomplishment for Box, but it is something to celebrate, nonetheless.

It’s shaping up to be a good year for the Wyoming author, with the success of the latest Pickett novel, the adaptation of the series and the hopeful continuation of “Big Sky,” the ABC series adapted from Box’s Cassie Dewell novels.

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Stephen King Is Big Fan of “Big Sky”

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

“Big Sky” has become one of the nation’s biggest cable network drama series, gaining millions of fans, and one of its biggest fans is horror author Stephen King.

“I think BIG SKY (ABC) is the best drama on network television,” King wrote this week on his Twitter account. “With the last three episodes, it’s tiptoeing into Emmy territory.”

“If Stephen King says so…” responded C.J. Box, the Wyoming author whose Cassie Dewell books from which the show is adapted.

Box also shared a link to an article that detailed King’s praise of the series, which began airing in the fall.

King has been watching the show since its premiere, it would seem, since he has been tweeting about it since December.

“BIG SKY gets the best line of the month (so far): “Ronald? Not to overstate the obvious, but you kidnapped the wrong girls,'” King wrote in early December following an episode.

The author is obviously a fan of the series’ writing, as he has praised other lines from the show.

“Best line of the week goes to Ronald (Brian Geraghty) in BIG SKY, when talking–shouting–at his mother: “I’M EATING MY CEREAL AND I DON’T WANT JUDGEMENT!'” he wrote.

Last month, the series was renewed for six more episodes for a total of 16.

The series, created by “Big Little Lies” showrunner David E. Kelley, follows private detective Cassie Dewell, played by Kylie Bunbury, and ex-cop Jenny Hoyt, played by Katheryn Winnick, who join forces to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana.

When they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken.

Box previously told a Denver news station that he got the idea for the story from a personal experience, after his daughter came home to Cheyenne from the University of Wyoming for Thanksgiving.

“When she arrived at our house, I went out to check her car and the ‘check engine’ light was on,” he said. “And I asked her, how long has that been on because I knew how much traffic was on that road. And her answer was, ‘Don’t worry, it’s always on.’”

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C.J. Box’s “Big Sky” Renewed For Six More Episodes

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Six more episodes of “Big Sky,” the ABC series adapted from C.J. Box’s book “The Highway,” have been ordered by the network, the author announced on Wednesday.

“For those of you asking if/when #BigSky will be coming back…” the Wyoming author wrote in a post on Wednesday morning, linking to a Deadline article detailing the six episode order.

The additional episodes will bring the series to 16 episodes in total, which is not too shabby for a brand new show premiering in the midst of a pandemic.

The series, created by “Big Little Lies” showrunner David E. Kelley, follows private detective Cassie Dewell, played by Kylie Bunbury, and ex-cop Jenny Hoyt, played by Katheryn Winnick, who join forces to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana.

When they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken.

Box previously told a Denver news station that he got the idea for the story from a personal experience, after his daughter came home to Cheyenne from the University of Wyoming for Thanksgiving.

“When she arrived at our house, I went out to check her car and the ‘check engine’ light was on,” he said. “And I asked her, how long has that been on because I knew how much traffic was on that road. And her answer was, ‘Don’t worry, it’s always on.’”

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Joe Pickett TV Series In Works At Paramount

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Another C.J. Box adaptation is headed for the small screen, the Wyoming author announced on Friday.

“Maybe the cat is out of the bag?” Box wrote in a Facebook post that linked to an article from the Calgary Herald which discussed two series that would soon start filming in Canada.

One of the series is “Joe Pickett,” which is being adapted by Paramount Television and will focus on Box’s famous game warden. The other is “Guilty Party,” starring “Underworld” actress Kate Beckinsale.

According to the Herald, both productions will open production offices soon in Calgary and are looking to start work in the first quarter of 2021.

Not much information was given on the Pickett series, although a source told the newspaper that production would likely take place over the summer.

Box has written 20 novels about the game warden, so there will be plenty of content for the series to pull from. This adaptation has been long-discussed and Box told another media outlet last year that Paramount was working on a series starring his most famous character.

This is the second TV adaptation of Box’s work, the most recent being ABC’s “Big Sky,” which focuses on his Cassie Dewell novels. The series premiered in November and will run for a full season.

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C.J. Box On “Big Sky” Premier: “It’s Weird, It’s Exciting, It’s Fun”

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

It’s been 20 years since C.J. Box started writing novels, and he’s been waiting for the time when one of his books would be adapted for the big or small screen.

On Tuesday night, it finally happened. After spending two decades writing nearly 30 books, Box and the rest of the world got to see his characters come to life when “Big Sky” premiered on ABC.

While Box got to see the pilot before everyone else, that doesn’t mean he didn’t still tune in to see the premiere with everyone else.

“It’s weird, it’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s all of those feelings and more,” Box told Cowboy State Daily. “I certainly key in on specific lines of dialogue that I recognize from the book.”

The hour-long pilot introduced many of the characters from Box’s book “The Highway,” which is the first in the series starring Cassie Dewell, played by Kylie Bunbury in the series.

Overall, Box was pleased with the way the characters were introduced over the course of the pilot, but noted that it can be difficult for such a large cast to have fully established personalities in such a short amount of screentime.

The show’s pacing is one thing that’s definitely different for Box compared to his book, but he was expecting that, since the mediums are so different.

The series has already been ordered for a full season on ABC, meaning that viewers will at least get to see how this Cassie Dewell mystery plays out over the course of 10 episodes.

Box did lament the fact that the coronavirus pandemic affected numerous things surrounding the show and his involvement, noting that the series has been filming in Canada (rather than Montana, where it is set) due to the virus.

“I am a little sensitive about the fact that they’re not filming in Montana, but honestly, I thought they did a pretty good job of representing the state,” he said. “I think if you didn’t know the series was being shot in Canada, you wouldn’t recognize it. But I’m sure there are some people from Helena who will point out that it’s not really the town.”

In addition, Box didn’t get to visit the set during filming (and likely won’t before the first season is done filming) or attend the premiere party, which was a little saddening for him.

However, he is ultimately relieved now that the premiere has finally happened. Now, he and the rest of the world can watch as the mystery unfolds (although Box will get to see the episodes a little earlier than the rest of us) over the next nine episodes.

“It was definitely worth the wait,” the author said. “It’s so much better to see an adaptation of the novel instead of them just taking the characters and putting them into a different story. I’m happy they’re sticking with mine.”

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Big Sky Review: Creepy But Very Much Worth The Watching. I Am Anxious For Next Episode

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Five stars is the rating that I gave the TV Show Big Sky, which debuted Tuesday, Nov. 17, based on the book by Wyomingite C. J. Box.

Box’s book The Highway was one of the creepiest books I have ever read. It was quite a departure from Box’s traditional stories which are full of intrigue, mayhem, oddball twists and turns, and a big dose of Rocky Mountain lore.

The Highway is all about the scariest of things that can happen in a family – a friend or relative disappears in thin air and it appears that something really bad has happened to them.

I had three friends describe this first TV show as “creepy,” but it was not as sinister as the book.  The first two-thirds of the show also starred the Rocky Mountain West with all the vistas, canyons, mountains, and rivers plus the actors.

The characters were well-defined within the 60 minutes of the first episode, which was quite a trick. There are a whole bunch of them.

Creator David E. Kelley is the master of this genre. His shows Big Little Lies and the Undoing on HBO are classics when it comes to putting interesting people into God-awful situations.  This show is no different. Every single person has issues.  And the show did a good job of revealing them.

The two young girls are silly as they travel from Colorado to Montana. Their car breaks down. A mysterious truck comes along and . . . bad things happen. Really bad things.

Shades of real life. It reminded me of Dale Wayne Eaton and the famous Little Miss murder mystery in Wyoming in 1988.  Eaton raped and killed Lisa Marie Kimmell. He then took her car, a snazzy little Honda CR-X with the license plate “Lil Miss” and buried it in a huge hole on his property near Moneta between Shoshoni and Casper.  Eaton has since been on death row in Wyoming for that crime.

Eaton is also the primary suspect in another crime involving a missing young woman Amy Wroe Bechtel, that occurred outside of Lander in July, 1997. Her body has never been found and Eaton clams up about it, although his brother suspected him of snatching Bechtel, too.

But back to the TV Show.  The cast is full of troubled characters. The lead is a private investigator named Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe) who is separated from his wife, who is a former police officer who works with him. Another investigator in the office has a fling with Cody, which results in a classic western bar fight between the two women.  Lots of tension between them.

Cody’s son happens to be the boy in Montana where the two girls are headed.  He calls his dad, who mobilizes all these folks to hunt for the missing girls, including getting an oddball Highway Patrolman up in the middle of the night to help in the search.  This role is played by John Carroll Lynch, who I remember famously as Norm Gunderson in the movie Fargo. In that one, he was the slow-moving husband of the lady Sheriff. A classic role but this time around, he is much more sinister. There is a lot going on inside this guy’s head.

The trucker is a true misfit living with his domineering mother and full of pure evil.  

As in any David E. Kelley show, the whole thing comes together very well.

Spoiler alert – I about fell out of my chair on the last scene when the Highway Patrolman pulls out his gun and shoots Cody in the head. Just like that – poof. Hell, Cody is the leading man in this 10-part series. Is that the last we see of Cody?  Tune in next week.

Because of my admiration for both C. J. Box and David E. Kelley, it is easy to give this show five stars.  Be sure to tune in on ABC and see what happens next Tuesday – I know I will.

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Reminder: C.J. Box’s “Big Sky” Series Premieres Tonight

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

We know you probably didn’t need a reminder that “Big Sky,” the TV series adapted from C.J. Box’s Cassie Dewell novels, is premiering Tuesday night, but here’s one, just in case.

The series will premiere at 8 p.m. Tuesday on ABC.

Box told a Denver news station last week that he got the idea for the story from a personal experience, after his daughter came home to Cheyenne from the University of Wyoming for Thanksgiving.

“When she arrived at our house, I went out to check her car and the ‘check engine’ light was on,” he said. “And I asked her, how long has that been on because I knew how much traffic was on that road. And her answer was, ‘Don’t worry, it’s always on.’”

The show will focus on private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillipe), who team up with Cody’s estranged wife, Jenny, to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote road in Montana.

The series has already been ordered by ABC for a full first season.

The show is being created by TV writer and producer David E. Kelley, who has also created shows such as “Big Little Lies,” “Boston Legal,” “Ally McBeal” and “Mr. Mercedes.” Kelley will write multiple episodes and serve as the showrunner for the first season.

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C.J. Box’s TV Show “Big Sky”— Which Debuts on Tuesday — Was Inspired By Personal Experience

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If you’ve been counting down the days until C.J. Box’s TV show “Big Sky” debuts on ABC, we’re down to day number five.

The Wyoming author’s first TV show will be unveiled on Tuesday, Nov. 17 and fans are ready for it.

It’s a creepy story.  So creepy that Box himself was creeped out by the show which is based on his novel “The Highway.”

“The television series will be dark and scary,” Box told Cowboy State Daily. “A lot of people who have read it say it is one of the creepiest things they’ve ever read. The pilot I read scared me, even though I knew what was going to happen.”

It’s always fun to find out how an author gets an idea for a story.

For example, Stephen King came up with the idea for The Shining after spending a night in The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, and dreaming that his son was being chased around the hotel by a firehose.

So how did Box come up with the idea for Big Sky?

Personal experience. Appearing on Denver’s KMGH-TV Thursday, he said his daughter drove back to Cheyenne from the University of Wyoming on Thanksgiving weekend and there was a slight problem with her car.

“When she arrived at our house, I went out to check her car and the ‘check engine’ light was on,” he said. “And I asked her, how long has that been on because I knew how much traffic was on that road. And her answer was, don’t worry, it’s always on.”

A similar scene was captured in the trailer for Big Sky — and it’s, well, creepy.

The show will focus on private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillipe), who team up with Cody’s estranged wife, Jenny, to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote road in Montana.

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C.J. Box’s “Big Sky” TV Show Trailer Draws 25 Million Views In First 3 Days

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The numbers are in and it seems that people are ready for the mid-November premiere of “Big Sky,” the series adapted from the Cassie Dewell novels of Wyoming author C.J. Box.

According to media reports, a trailer for the upcoming television series was viewed more than 25 million times in the first three days of its upload across multiple social media platforms.

“How big is Big Sky‘s trailer viewership tally of 25.5 million views over three days?” Deadline reported. “For comparison, the top [three] most-watched broadcast trailers at the 2019 upfronts, for ABC’s ‘Stumptown,’ ‘Emergence’ and ‘Mixed-ish,‘ amassed between 14.6 million and 16.1 million views across social media platforms in their first week.”

The trailer actually got most of its views from Twitter, 12.3 million to be exact. The other views came from Facebook (5.9 million), Instagram (4.1 million) and YouTube (3.2 million), totaling 25.5 million.

This is very good news for “Big Sky,” especially when many TV and film productions were shut down by health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Box shared the good news on his Facebook page, expressing his excitement about the series’ premiere.

“You know who helped make this happen? YOU DID! Let’s keep up the excitement and get ready to tune in Nov. 17th on ABC for #BigSky,” he wrote.

The series has already been ordered by ABC for a full first season.

The show will focus on private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillipe), who team up with Cody’s estranged wife, Jenny, to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote road in Montana.

The show is being created by TV writer and producer David E. Kelley, who has also created shows such as “Big Little Lies,” “Boston Legal,” “Ally McBeal” and “Mr. Mercedes.” Kelley will write multiple episodes and serve as the showrunner for the first season.

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