Taylor Sheridan has signed on as executive producer of the series about the legendary slave-turned-lawman.
Bass Reeves, the legendary slave-turned-lawman many believe was the real-life inspiration for the fictional Lone Ranger, will soon be riding tall as the focus of a TV series starring and produced by David Oyelowo (Selma, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway).
Oyelowo and his wife Jessica have aligned their Yoruba Saxon production company with ViacomCBS and MTV Entertainment Studios to make scripted and unscripted content. Among one of the projects already announced: A limited-run series titled Bass Reeves.
But wait, there’s more: The prolific Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone) has signed on as an executive producer of the series. So who knows? Maybe Oyelowo’s Reeves will make a surprise appearance on Sheridan’s upcoming 1883 series.
For the benefit of those who tuned in late: Many historians and other observers — including Bill O’Reilly, in his 2015 Legends and Lies TV series — have claimed Bass Reeves (pictured above) likely was the model for the masked hero who used to hang out with Tonto. Indeed, it has been widely noted that Reeves — who was credited with capturing more than 3,000 outlaws while working during the post-Reconstruction era as a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory — often gave out silver coins (not bullets) as his version of a calling card. His steed of choice was a white stallion. And very much like The Lone Ranger, Reeves was known to be a straight shooter and a fair fighter. Although he killed at least 14 men during gun battles, he steadfastly maintained he never shot a man when it was not necessary for him to do so to save his own life.
Reeves has been depicted in a handful of movies, TV series and documentaries, most recently in the forthcoming Netflix western The Harder They Fall (where he is robustly portrayed by Delroy Lindo), the 2019 indie feature Hell on the Border starring David Gyasi (Carnival Row), and a standout episode of the INSP docudrama series Wild West Chronicles. But despite past efforts by Morgan Freeman and other notables to dramatize Reeve’s life and exploits, Bass Reeves will mark the first time the lawman has been the protagonist of a scripted TV series.
“The stories Jess and I want to tell are boundary-busting,” Oyelowo said in a prepared statement, “and full of folks the likes of whom we have seldom seen on screen. The extraordinary story of Bass Reeves exemplifies just that. To collaborate with world-class talent like Taylor Sheridan to tell those stories to the widest audience possible is our dream, and we believe that can and will be realized through the shared ambitions we have with ViacomCBS and its signature branded platforms, alongside our seasoned and brilliant producing partners at 101 Studios.”
No word yet about when and on what platform Bass Reeves will appear. Watch this space for further developments.
Photography: Wikipedia Commons