The success of “Scandal,” “Homeland” and “House of Cards” has inspired another Washington-based drama: “Cold Dead Hands,” a series based on the National Rifle Association.
Cable’s Sundance Channel is developing a family drama about guns: Gun rights, gun violence, the gun lobby, and all the politics and emotion they bring to the table.
“This is a divisive issue, no question about it,” executive producer Scott Gold told us Wednesday.“We won’t be shy about that. It’s also an issue that speaks to what it means to be American — and there are a lot different versions of that.”
Gold is pretty new to the television business (he worked on a couple episodes of CBS’s “Under the Dome”) but has been a Los Angeles Times journalist for 15 years covering local and state stories. He’s teamed up with television veteran Tony Krantz, who was looking for an “important and current issue” not explored in network TV.
Since the entertainment industry is considered to be inherently liberal, the question of how exactly the show will address these questions is likely to be hotly contested — before the first episode is ever aired — by everyone who has strong opinions about the Second Amendment and gun ownership. “In order to help protect lives, promote gun safety and build a national consensus on the issues, we want to respect and understand all sides of this story,” Krantz told the Hollywood Reporter.
The show’s title comes from movie star and former NRA president Charlton Heston’s impassioned speech to the annual NRA convention in 2000, when the actor concluded his address by holding a replica rifle: “So as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, [Democratic presidential candidate] Mr. Gore: ‘From my cold, dead hands!’”
The hour-long drama will revolve around the fictional leader of the NRA named Early “Trip” Thibodeaux III— a husband, father and the nation’s most powerful gun-rights advocate. How much he’ll resemble the real head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, is unclear, but Thibodeaux is described as a “charismatic and polarizing figure” who finds himself in a crisis of faith.
“My hope is that Trip Thibodeaux will be the most principled man you’ve ever met,” said Gold. “Whether you agree with that principle or not is entirely up to you.” The NRA, which has no involvement in the project, did not respond to requests for comment.