Pitch Perfect‘s Anna Camp, Mad Men‘s Vincent Kartheiser, and Divergent‘s Ray Stevenson are confirmed to star in National Geographic Channel’s four hour movie event Saints & Strangers. The cast also includes Michael Jibson, Ron Livingston, Natascha McElhone, Tatanka Means, Brian F. O’Byrne, Kalani Queypo, Barry Sloane, and Raoul Trujillo. Paul Edwards is directing Saints & Strangers from a script by Seth Fisher and Eric Overmyer (from an original script by Chip Johannessen, revisions by Walon Green). Filming is expected to kick off this month in South Africa, with Overmyer, Grant Scharbo, Gina Matthews, and Teri Weinberg executive producing. Sony Pictures Television with Little Engine Productions are producing.
Announcing the cast, NGC’s president of original programming and production Tim Pastore said, “I am incredibly excited by the talented ensemble that we have assembled for this movie. Under Paul’s direction, and with the powerful script we have from Eric Overmyer and Seth Fisher, I cannot wait to see what this cast can do.”
The Plot: “Saints & Strangers is a story that goes beyond the familiar historical account of Thanksgiving, revealing the trials and tribulations of the first settlers at Plymouth: 101 men, women and children who sailed on a chartered ship for a place they had ever seen. Of this group, half were those we know as ‘Pilgrims,’ religious separatists who abandoned their prior lives for a single cause: religious freedom. The other, the ‘adventurers,’ were motivated by real-world material objectives as opposed to spiritual ideas. This clash of values created complex inner struggles for the group as they sought to establish new individual identities and a new colony, compounded by a complicated relationship with the Native Americans. The settlers’ willingness to take risks, adapt and persevere despite the odds continues to define the American spirit to this day.”
The “saints” aboard the Mayflower were religious separatists who abandoned their prior lives for religious freedom and an opportunity to create a new social order built on their values.
– Vincent Kartheiser plays William Bradford, the colony’s moral compass who would eventually serve as long-time governor of Plymouth Colony.
– Anna Camp is Dorothy Bradford, his wife, still haunted by their decision to leave their three-year-old son behind for the journey to the New World.
– Ron Livingston stars as John Carver, the initial leader of the Pilgrims and the first governor of the Plymouth Colony.
– Barry Sloane plays Plymouth leader Edward Winslow who would serve as a diplomat to the nearby Pokanoket tribe and their leader Massasoit.
– Michael Jibson is Myles Standish who, though not a separatist himself, was hired as the colony’s military adviser.
The “strangers” were those Mayflower passengers who were seeking adventure and financial opportunity, not religious freedom.
– Ray Stevenson stars as Stephen Hopkins, a leader of the strangers — albeit one with a checkered past — and the only Mayflower passenger who had previously been to the New World.
– Natascha McElhone is his wife, Elizabeth Hopkins, who gives birth to their second child aboard the Mayflower and is one of only four women to survive to the first Thanksgiving.
– Brían F. O’Byrne is John Billington, an antagonistic patriarch of a family known for troublemaking.
The Native Americans:
The Mayflower passengers were far from the first settlers on New England, preceded by a number of Native American tribes confronted with their own political turmoil long before the arrival of the Europeans.
– Raoul Trujillo plays Massasoit, the sachem — or leader — of the Pokanoket tribe. Plague has decimated the Pokanoket population, leaving Massasoit uncertain of how to deal with the arrival of the new settlers.
– Tatanka Means plays Hobbamock, one of Massasoit’s men and a Pniese — an elite warrior thought to be unkillable in battle.
– Kalani Queypo is Squanto, a former captive and slave of English explorers, who has crossed the Atlantic four times and acts as a translator and negotiator between Massasoit and the governors of the Plymouth Colony.