Peter Berg and Eric Newman, through their production companies Film 45 and Grand Electric, are teaming up for a brand new action-thriller limited series on Netflix. Here’s everything we know about American Primeval so far.
Note: this article was first released on November 4th, 2022 (the first outlet to announce the project) and has been updated to reflect new information. It was last updated in August 2023.
Up until the full unveiling in late 2022, we had a brief synopsis of the upcoming series that’s currently in active development:
“Traveling West with her son, Sara joins a Mormon caravan headed in the same direction but bloody conflict erupts between the Native Americans and those claiming the land for themselves.”
Upon the official unveiling, where we learned the limited series would consist of 6 episodes, Netflix provided a complete synopsis which reads as follows:
“American Primeval is a raw, adventurous exploration of the birth of the American West. The violent collisions of cultures, religions and communities as men and women fight and die for control of this new world – for a land they truly believe is their destiny. The ensemble tells a story of the sacrifice all must pay when they choose to enter a lawless and untamed wilderness.”
Now let’s dig into the series.
Who is behind American Primeval on Netflix?
The project is a collaboration between Film 44 (helmed by Peter Berg) and Grand Electric (helmed by Eric Newman). Both are under overall deals with Netflix and have previously partnered up on the upcoming limited series Painkiller.
Peter Berg is confirmed to serve as the sole director in the series while Eric Newman produces.
Berg, through Film 44, struck a deal with Netflix back in March 2021 where he would produce and direct new movies and series for the streamer. Thus far, he’s delivered Spenser Confidential. That deal is expected to be coming to an end after three years in early 2023.
Speaking about the project, Berg said:
“We are very appreciative that Netflix is trusting us to take a big swing with American Primeval. I’m looking forward to taking viewers into the most dynamic, intense, and heart pounding survival tale humanly possible. We are going into the belly of the beast. Cheers to Ted, Bela, Peter and the entire Netflix team for the support!”
Eric Newman, through Grand Electric, has worked on a slew of Netflix projects over the years, with more on the way. He struck his deal back in 2020, which is expected to end by the close of this year.
Newman’s other announced Netflix projects include Rebel Moon, Griselda, and The Upper World.
Mark L. Smith will serve as writer and executive producer on the project behind projects, including Netflix’s The Midnight Sky, The Revenant, and Overlord. Other producers include Tim King and Alex Gayner.
Rachel Tenner serves as the casting director for the new series. Armando Salas will serve as director of photography/cinematographer.
Who will star in Netflix’s American Primeval?
Alongside the initial announcement on December 6th, Taylor Kitsch was announced to lead the cast.
Kitsch, who ranks in the top 1000 stars on IMDb’s STARmeter, is best known for playing Remy LeBeau in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, John Carter in Disney’s John Carter, and Tim Riggins in NBC’s Friday Night Lights (last chance to watch in the United States, by the way). He also appeared in Netflix’s Painkiller in 2023.
Kitsch will play the role of Isaac – a traumatized man struggling to overcome his demons and find a reason to live in this brutal and punishing world.
In January 2023, Netflix added 11 new cast members, including:
- Jai Courtney (Kaleidoscope, Suicide Squad) will play Virgil Cutter
- Kyle Bradley Davis (American Horror Story, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) will play Tilly
- Dane DeHaan (Oppenheimer, The Staircase) will play Jacob Pratt
- Betty Gilpin (Gaslit, GLOW) will star as Sara Rowell
- Nick Hargrove (Devotion) will play Cottrell
- Derek Hinkey (Walker Independence, Horizon) will play Red Feather
- Saura Lightfoot Leon (Hoard, Masters of the Air) will play Abish
- Preston Mota (Asteroid City) will play Devin Rowell
- Shawnee Pourier (Stranger Things, Dark Winds) will play Two Moons
- Joe Tippett (Mare Of Easttown, The Morning Show) will play James Wolsey
- Shea Whigham (Joker, Boardwalk Empire) will play Jim Bridger
Rounding out the recurring cast includes:
- Alex Fine (1883) as Gant
- Bodhi Rader (Better Call Saul, Into the Wild Frontier) as Cavalry Soldier O’Malley
- Alex Breaux (When They See Us, Joe Pickett)
- Dominic Bogart (Just Mercy) as Frank Cook
- Tokala Black Elk (1883) as Buffalo Run
- Kip Weeks (Spenser Confidential) as Lt. Pepper
- Mikandrew (Deputy) as Henry
- Jeremy Gauna (The Last Son) as Tall Shadow
- Efrain Villa (Primo) as Tadeo
When will production begin on Netflix’s American Primeval?
Filming began in February 2023 as planned from late 2022 and continued into July 2023 but the series is among the Netflix roster that’s been impacted by the ongoing Hollywood strikes.
The series was filmed at Netflix’s Studios in Albuquerque plus in and around Santa Fe.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in August 2023, Eric Newman stated that filming had not wrapped up on American Primeval but rather that they got to “day 96 of 100-some-odd days,” adding that they’ve shot “85 percent of the show.”
Production stopped because of the ongoing Hollywood strikes but he was optimistic that they’d be able to pick up on the show again.
According to the New Mexico Film Office, the production employed over 4,000 New Mexicans, with 3,420 as background talent, 750 as
crew members, and 20 principal actors.
“American Primeval is another high-profile series calling New Mexico home,” New Mexico Film Office Director Amber Dodson said. “But that’s no accident. With partners like Netflix, a universe of skilled local film professionals, diverse business partners, and a sophisticated ecosystem that can sustain large productions over many seasons, there is no doubt New Mexico will benefit from this production and feel the positive economic impacts on the film workforce to local businesses and beyond.”
Are you looking forward to Netflix’s new thriller series? Let us know in the comments.