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HBO Goes on MANHUNT

Search for Lincoln Assassin

By Associate News Editor     September 16, 2008
Source: Variety


MANHUNT: THE 12-DAY CHASE FOR LINCOLN'S KILLER by James L. Swanson
© Harper Perennial

HOMICIDE's David Simon and Tom Fontana  will team up with HBO for a miniseries about the 12-day search for John Wilkes Booth.

They will be adapting from James L. Swanson's book MANHUNT. The book follows the search for Abraham Lincoln's assassin.  The story will focus on the perspectives of lesser-known historical figures that were connected to the assassination of Lincoln and the subsequent media frenzy and manhunt.

The project which is in early development will be executive produced by David Simon, Tom Fontana, Lawrence Bender, Kevin Brown and Walden Media. 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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Hobbs 9/16/2008 4:52:38 AM
Well thats interesting. This was supposed to be a motion picture with Harrison Ford as the Union officer hunting Booth. Then he bailed on it the project and I never heard what happened to it. Now I know. Interesting way to go, I thought a two hour movie was going to be hard trying to make this "hunt" interesting but a 12 part mini series...ugh. I never found the Booth hunt to be as interesting as most of these writers make it out to be. He became famous for killing Lincoln, not for his daring escape...the guy was an idiot. He jumped off the stage and hurt himself, while he was escaping he was going in circles...I mean the guy was no genius.
Shadowtron 9/16/2008 5:59:58 AM
I think the fascination with Boothe is linked to Lincoln. Abe is considered one of the finest presidents; the president who ended slavery. Also, there's a huge conspiracy surrounding this assassination and Boothe is at the center of it. Plus there are those who are curious about a man who goes from being a renowned actor (the Tom Cruise of his era) to an obsessed and bloodthirsty lunatic. Sometimes it's not just about the events, but the motivations behind them.
joeybaloney 9/16/2008 6:13:41 AM
Isn't Tom Cruise also an obsessed and bloodthirsty lunatic now?
Shadowtron 9/16/2008 6:17:12 AM
Heh, and look at how obsessed the media is with him. All he did was jump up and down on a couch.
AMiSHPiRATE 9/16/2008 6:20:47 AM
I'm tempted to tune into this. I want to see how the media went about going into a frenzy in 1865.
Hobbs 9/16/2008 7:05:53 AM
That's an interesting way to look at it Shadowtron. Though I don't know if I want to sit through 12 hours of how Tom Cruise turned into a lunatic. I just don't think Boothe was as interesting a character as people make him out to be. I think the conspiracy theory is weak and made up by the same people who believe 9/11 was an inside job. I have a friend like that too where everything that happens of some significance has to be a conspiracy. The only intersting thing I found to be was that as big of a blunder that their plan was he still managed to kill Lincoln...so maybe that's where the fasination comes from. Still, 12 hours of it?
Shadowtron 9/16/2008 7:31:25 AM
A lot of the conspiracies were started during the time of the assassination. A note written by Booth was left for Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's V.P., on the night of the assassination. Mary Lincoln was convinced, even years later, that Johnson had a hand in the assassination. Then there's talk of the soldier who shot Booth. And pages torn from Booth's diary. Of course, no conspiracy theory is complete without 'evidence' of the assassin escaping and living to a ripe old age dispite what history tells us. Wether or not it works as a 12-hour miniseries is anyone's guess. But the entire manhunt, IMO, was very dramatic. Thousands of people were looking for this guy. His frantic attempts to escape. Conspiracies. Interrogations. All very thrilling to me. But then I'm a bit of a history geek, hehehe.
fft5305 9/16/2008 8:46:45 AM
I would almost be more interested in a behind-the-scenes special showing how thoroughly the book was researched. On what evidence does the author base his premise? Is HBO presenting this as a more or less historical account of what happened or as a purely fictional hypothesis based on a few theories? Either way, based on HBO's work on John Adams, I have faith in their ability to make a historical drama of American history interesting and entertaining.
Hobbs 9/16/2008 9:18:55 AM
We are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. You give Booth more credit than I do. I didn't find the book that interesting. I'm a realist and one thing history has taught us is that the simplest answers are the hardest ones to accept. JFK, Lincoln, 9/11, Pearl Harbor, etc, etc, etc. Choosing between the two I would have preferred the two hour movie but who knows maybe it will be the sheet.
Shadowtron 9/16/2008 11:12:04 AM
I give the situation more credit than you do.
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