One of America's most infamous outlaws is coming to Epix with a new Billy the Kid drama written and executive produced by Michael Hirst of Elizabeth, The Tudors and Vikings. The eight-part hour-long drama begins production in June in Calgary and is slated to premiere in 2022, the MGM subsidiary announced Tuesday.
The show is described as an "epic romantic adventure" based on the life of the famous gunslinger, born William H. Bonney, showing his humble Irish roots and early days as a cowboy and outlaw in the American frontier as well as his pivotal role in the Lincoln County War and beyond. "Billy the Kid reunites Michael Hirst and MGM, whose epic sagas with global appeal remain unmatched," said Rola Bauer, MGM's president of international television productions, in a statement. "It is an immigrant story at its heart and an international perspective to this legendary American character."
Michael Wright, president at Epix, praised Hirst for creating a series that will take its viewers "on an entirely unexpected, thrilling ride," and inviting them for a journey that would be "turning what they thought they knew about this iconic character on its head." Hirst also weighed in on his inspiration behind embracing the story of the American folk hero. "Billy the Kid has always been a hero of mine since I was – well, a kid!" he said in a statement. "I grew up in the North of England but it made no difference!"
"Billy was a special kind of outlaw," he continued. "For a start, he was so young – and for another thing, he wasn't a psychopath who enjoyed killing, nor a criminal who robbed for material gain. He was an outlaw most of his life, but he never wanted to be. Born into a poor Irish family of immigrants, he always wanted to go straight, to be a 'new American.' But he was never allowed to."
The story of Billy the Kid is more than just a "fantastic drama about a charismatic cowboy," Hirst added. "It's also the story of the immigrant, and the story of the creation of the new America from the lawless, violent chaos of the mid-West and its many nations. So in the end it's not just a story at all – it's an American myth!" Billy the Kid is executive produced by Michael Hirst; Donald De Line for De Line Pictures; Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey for Amblin Television; Otto Bathurst, and Toby Leslie for One Big Picture.