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Showtime Orders Mini-series ‘ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA’

June 2, 2017

benicio del toro

Showtime has given an order to ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA, a new eight-hour limited series starring Benicio Del Toro, Patricia Arquette and Paul Dano. Ben Stiller will executive produce and direct all eight episodes.

This limited series is based on the stranger-than-fiction account of a prison break in upstate New York in the summer of 2015, which spawned a massive manhunt for two convicted murderers who were aided in their escape by a married female prison employee with whom they both became sexually entangled.

This series is the network’s next high-profile limited series, on the heels of launching the new season of Twin Peaks, which generated a record number of streaming service signups for Showtime.

Del Toro will play convicted murderer Richard Matt, an artistic yet intimidating force within the prison, who masterminds the escape.

patricia arquette

Arquette will play Tilly Mitchell, a working class, married woman who supervises the prison tailor ship and becomes sexually involved with both convicts, including her to assist them with their escape.

Dano will play David Sweat, a convicted cop-killer who uses his good looks to seduce Tilly and becomes a reluctant partner in Richard Matt’s plot.

dano love & mercy

The series will be written and executive produced by Brett Johnson (Mad Men) and Michel Tolkin (The Player), who met while working as writers on Showtime’s Ray Donovan.  Bryan Zuriff, Michael De Luca and his Michael De Luca Productions and Nicky Weinstock of Red Hour Productions will also executive produce.

Stiller said of the announcement:

“We are all very intent on trying to tell this singular story in a way that shows the reality and humanity of the people involved. While the genre is a prison escape story, at its core it is a story about real people, some criminals and some not, who make some bad choices that have huge consequences. I think that’s what’s so compelling about this.”

Arquette said:

“I’m very excited about ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA and about working with Ben, Benicio, Michael, Bret and Showtime on this fascinating and dark American love story rooted in real and self-deceptive incarceration.”

Production will begin later this year at actual locations in upstate New York.

In 2008, Richard Matt received a 25-years-to-life sentence at Clinton Correctional Facility without possibility of parole for the 1997 murder and dismemberment of his boss, William Rickerson. After that killing, Matt fled to Mexico, where he killed a man outside a bar and served nine years in jail before being extradited to the US in 2007. In prison, he met Sweat, who was sentence to life without parole in 2003 for the murder of a sheriff’s deputy. In June 2015, abetted by Mitchell and corrections officer Gene Palmer, the pair became the first escapees in the 170-year history of Clinton Correctional, the state of New York’s third-oldest prison and largest maximum security facility. They were at large for 20 days, until Matt was killed in a confrontation after being spotted by law enforcement, 50 miles from Clinton and less than 20 miles south of Canada. Two days later, Sweat was wounded and then apprehended, less than two miles from the Canadian border. Mitchell and Sweat pled guilty to multiple charges related to the prison break. Mitchell received a sentence of 28 months to seven years in prison, serving her sentence at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Westchester County, New York, approximately 300 miles from Clinton. Sweat was officially sentenced to an additional 3 1/2 to 7 years. In June 2016, a report from the Office of the Inspector General in New York declared that a total of 20 uniformed and civilian employees enabled the escape in some fashion.

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