'It's like a biker movie crossed with 'The Deer Hunter,'' Giamatti tells EW

By Shirley Li
Updated November 13, 2015 at 03:52 PM EST
Credit: WGN
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Meet the Farrell clan, a rugged family living in the sprawling Appalachian mountains who refuse to give up their wilderness home, in which they’ve survived for 200 years.

In WGN America’s upcoming drama Outsiders, the family comes to a head with corporations who want to take over the land. What ensues is a battle between ideals that make the show — despite its isolated characters — feel relevant today, according to actor Paul Giamatti, who serves as an executive producer for the series alongside Peter Tolan and creator Peter Mattei.

“There’s all sorts of stories about the marginalized, the haves and the have-nots,” he tells EW. “It’s got all these contemporary contentions between opposites.” Among them, Giamatti explains, are the struggles between the 1 percent and the 99 percent, the corporations and the environmentalists, and the lawful and the lawless. “These people can almost be seen as kind of libertarian,” he notes, pointing out that even in the trailer, one character tosses paper money into a fire, which shows how different the family lives. “I remember when I first read the script, I thought, ‘I’ve never seen someone burn money on a show or in anything, and it’s a really radical act.’ “

Giamatti says he signed on to produce after reading the script nearly two years ago and felt drawn to the elements the show aims to juggle. “It’s like a biker movie crossed with The Deer Hunter,” he says. “There’s the gritty realistic thing with the bikers, there’s lots of intrigue because the people on the mountain have a whole self-contained culture, and there’s a war going on.” And on top of that, he adds: “It’s pretty bloody.”

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Judging by the exclusive extended trailer for the series below, the Farrells will face more than just government-imposed eviction: They’ll come to terms with the community living in the nearby mining town, sparking difficult romances and questions over how the clan can continue its ways without affecting the outside world — and vice versa. “I think it really achieves levels of being interesting in thinking of the kind of place we are in America,” Giamatti says. “It’s a risky show, and hopefully it comes off great.”

Outsiders stars an ensemble cast including David Morse, Thomas M. Wright, Ryan Hurst, Joe Anderson, Gillian Alexy, Kyle Gallner, Christina Jackson, Francie Swift, and Phyllis Somerville. The series premieres Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 9 p.m. ET on WGN America.


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