Legendary daredevil Evel Knievel will have his story told in the upcoming limited series Evel for USA Network, and This Is Us star Milo Ventimiglia has been cast in the lead role. From Universal Content Productions, Etan Frankel (Shameless) is writing the script in addition to executive producing with Ventimiglia.
Also exec producing are McG, Mary Viola, and Steven Bello of Wonderland Sound and Vision, Alex Gartner, Charles Roven, and Topher Rhys-Lawrence of Atlas Entertainment, and Ventimiglia's DiVide Pictures partner Russ Cundiff. USA Network and Syfy president Chris McCumber has confirmed the news, and here's what he had to say about it.
"USA Network is known for big event series that celebrate heroes, rebels and icons, and what could be bigger than the story of one of the greatest thrill seekers of all time? The incredible life and journey of Evel Knievel lends itself to a dramatic retelling, and we are excited to be partnering with Milo, McG, UCP, Atlas and Wonderland to bring this iconic American tale to our viewers."
Production for Evel is set to begin early next year, and there isn't currently an official premiere date set. It also remains to be seen how many episodes the limited series will span overall. The project will in particular follow Evel Knievel's preparations for his most amazing and death-defying stunt yet - the planned jump across Snake River Canyon in 1974. Described as a portrait of a "complex man living the American dream," simultaneously struggling with his rise to fame, raising a family, and risking his life all for the sake of the thrill. Ultimately, Knievel was unsuccessful with this stunt, although he miraculously survived with only minor injuries. The failed jump also served as one of the very last stunts for the career daredevil.
Robert "Evel" Knievel is perhaps the most famous daredevil of all time. Beginning with things like rodeos and ski jumping, Knievel later moved on to motocross racing. Eager to support his family the best way he knew how, Knievel began his career performing stunts with a motorcycle jump over a 20-foot-long box of rattlesnakes and two mountain lions. Things snowballed from there until Knievel was known across the world for the stunts he was willing to perform, with even his infamous 1974 failure earning him a tremendous amount of respect. After slapping the grim reaper in the face throughout the course of his life, Knievel ultimately died of pulmonary disease in 2007.
Evel seems to be in good hands with Ventimiglia in the lead, and this should be something any fan of This Is Us can agree with. For his role as Jack Pearson on the acclaimed series, Milo Ventimiglia has been given three Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. As part of the ensemble, he has also won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for the past two years. Ventimiglia had previously established himself in TV shows like Gilmore Girls and Heroes, and has appeared in such movies as The Art of Racing in the Rain and Sandy Wexler. He also memorably appears at Rocky Balboa's son in Rocky Balboa and Creed II.
Production on Evel will reportedly begin in early 2020. The series joins other drama shows Dirty John, Brave New World, The Purge, Treadstone, The Sinner, and the Suits spin-off Pearson for USA Network. With both Suits and Mr. Robot ending their runs this year, Evel seems to be part of a movement by the network to keep the drama flowing. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.