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Discovery’s first scripted program is back on track with a new star signed on to replace Chris Cooper, who exited the project recently due to personal matters. Taking on the role of Father Judge will be Oscar-nominated actor Sam Shepard.
Deadline first reported the news, noting that in the series, Father Judge is a missionary in the Klondike looking to make up for the violence in his past by saving the souls drawn in by the Gold Rush; that might be a tall order considering the greed and other myriad of sins Gold Rush towns were known for. As Discovery Channel’s first foray into scripted television, Klondike is an ambitious project that has signed on a stellar cast, including Lie To Me’s Tim Roth, Game of Thrones' Richard Madden, and Seven Pyschopaths' Abbie Cornish. While having Oscar-winner Cooper was a feather in the show’s cap, Sam Shepard is a pretty good replacement.
Shepard picked up an Oscar nomination in 1983 for The Right Stuff and has since appeared in movies like Black Hawk Down and The Notebook. His upcoming roles include Savannah and a role in the star-studded Out of the Furnace, alongside names like Woody Harrelson and Christian Bale.
Klondike is based on the book Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike by Charlotte Gray. The series began production last month in Canada. Discovery has to be hoping for a taste of the success History Channel saw recently with its first scripted programs, The Bible and Vikings, and the cast is certainly making things look good for Klondike.